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4th Annual Campaign Week: Tons of Resources

Shark Week has ended but Campaign Week is just starting. All week long we’re hosting training, providing coaching and giving away campaign resources.

This is the fourth annual. Check out the full schedule and get some virtual swag. More info.

The Motivational Mug

We had some cool mugs made with our For Impact message points. I don’t really want to get into the business of selling and shipping mugs but I would love to get some of these into the hands of regular readers. First ten to comment… we’ll ship you one.

Edit: Okay all.. WOW.. way more responses than I anticipated. Several extra comments below and a lot of emails. Have setup a new way to get a mug… Share your Story. Thanks!

Invisible Children

Just listened to the CD that comes in every Success Magazine and was surprised/excited to hear an interview with the Founders and the CEO of Invisible Children. Nick and I have worked with Ben and his team and they are absolutely amazing. If you get a copy of the magazine, make sure you listen to the audio!

Take a look at some of the amazing stuff that INVISIBLE CHILDREN team has accomplished.

There can only be ONE leader on a visit.

Just off the phone with a team that’s prepping for a big visit this afternoon. We were doing a last minute strategic run-through. On this visit it’s going to be the ED, a Director of Development and the prospect. They’re going to be doing a tour followed by a sit-down discussion about an $8M effort.

As part of the process we always establish ONE leader. This is the person that is responsible for managing the FLOW of the visit.

One thing’s for certain. No visit ever goes as planned. If you’re on the team it’s imperative to know the ONE person that’s responsible for getting to the goal.

Can’t be two leaders. Worse than two leaders is establishing no lead.

If I’m leading I will advise the other person, “If if things seem totally de-railed I will have a plan in my head I’m following. It’s important I communicate that so you don’t panic if we seem way off track.” Having done this now hundreds and hundreds of times I will let the prospect lead a lot… because I want to listen.

If it’s my first visit with a team member I’ll tell them to imagine a physical ball. Just like one of those retreats, you can only talk when you have the ball. I will carry the ball. When the prospect opens her mouth she ALWAYS has the ball. And, in order to manage the flow of the call I will deliberately pass the ball. For example, “Jim, could I ask you to share a little bit with Ms. Prospect about our outreach program?”

One leader. Not two. Not three. Definitely not zero.

The More You Give… The More You Get.

Early a.m. Coffee. Outside at Eagle Creek. Reading my new SUCCESS MAGAZINE. My ideal start to a day.

September’s issue of Success Magazine has ‘GIVING’ as its central theme. I strongly urge anyone in the For Impact World to go get a copy and read it cover to cover!

Not only will this help you better understand your investors/benefactors (aka donors)… it will make a difference in your life!

Cover story on Michael and Susan Dell and their foundation is excellent. There are articles on Everyday Giving, Giving Back, Well-Being, Be Happy and much more.

The big thing that jumped out at me was something that I’ve known for a long time but couldn’t quantify:

THE MORE YOU GIVE… THE MORE YOU GET. (more…) = Awesomeness

This one’s making its way through twitter and the web’s pretty fast… and it should.

You probably already know about the Gates/Buffet challenge to Billionaires, asking them to pledge to give away half their fortunes.

Now they have a dead simple website: It includes the pledge letter from each billionaire. I haven’t been through all the letters but they’re pretty powerful and most offer some insight. That is, they’re not just some fluffy PR letter but show a genuine glimpse into the thinking of these committed philanthropists.

Making an ask soon? I urge you to read a few of these letters before heading out. While these may be 40 letters from Billionaires, I assure you the only difference between them and the person you may ask for $100K is the level of organized thinking around common thoughts and desires. Your neighborhood philanthropist has these SAME feelings, thoughts… just hasn’t taken the time to be as formal in outlining the WHY and the STRATEGY.

Become a For Impact Coach. Build a Lifestyle Business that Changes the World.

Change the World.

Be a For Impact Coach.

A For Impact Coach is a partner who builds his or her own coaching business using the For Impact frameworks and processes.  Coaches leverage the 25+ years of Suddes Group experience and $2Billion+ raised.  Coaches also leverage their own professional network using strategies Tom and Nick have perfected with other partners and coaches.

The result is your own lifestyle business (or lifestyle social enterprise) that’s saving lives, changing lives and impacting lives with the backing of an international brand and network.

The story:

The Suddes Group was founded in 1983 to run campaigns for organizations.  It quickly grew to be one of the premier consulting companies in the world – at one time employing some 50 consultants and working in every sector.  Known for its no-nonsense, sales approach to fundraising, The Suddes Group ran over 300 successful campaign efforts.

In 2001 The Suddes Group launched For Impact.  The aim of this new initiative was to provide publications, training and coaching around the frameworks The Suddes Group was using in the field.

In 2008 For Impact piloted the idea of field coaches.   Tom and Nick handpicked five individuals – each with a background in sales and business leadership – each making the move from success to significance.  For Impact teamed with these individuals to help each design and start their own coaching businesses using the For Impact banner, materials and processes.

Each enjoys a lifestyle business that allows them to work from home or on the road – focusing on one to five organizations each month. Each of the For Impact Partners also leads workshops in his or her area or sector to share the For Impact Point of View.  They find rejuvenation and continued personal growth through their work and leadership.

More about The For Impact Coaching Profile:

  • Has a personal mission to make a big impact and change the world.
  • Wants to run and live a lifestyle business (the model for which is already created) and control his or her own client load and income.
  • Has a ‘life entrepreneur’ attitude.
  • Is a ‘coach’ vs. a ‘consultant’.  Note: Tom Suddes is the boxing coach at Notre Dame.  This is setup for COACHES!
  • Has a business or sales background.
  • Is highly networked.
  • Enjoys leading a room through the For Impact Experience (our non-workshop)
  • Has a strong passion for life and adventure.  We have the boxing coach, a tri-athlete, two mountain bikers, an avid fisherman and a marathoner.  It’s a pretty high-energy team you would be a part of.
  • Special note: Based on the results of our pilot coaches, For Impact coaches should be in the position to allow 4-6 months (avg) before client load / cash flow picks up.

Sound Interesting?  What do do…

Our goal in 2010 is to find 10 coaches that represent a strong fit (location, interest, background, purpose, etc).  We want to begin working with those coaches to help them get their businesses off the ground before 2011.

If you would like to explore this idea, just send me an email To get the conversation started.  Tell your story.

Cause and Case. Get those that already get your CAUSE, then sell your CASE.

Cause: Your reason for existence. The big problem you’re trying to solve or change.

Case: Your approach. Your model. The way in which you impact the CAUSE.

Think about the the difference between CAUSE and CASE.

The goal is to be with people that already understand the CAUSE. Then you can spend time engaging them with the CASE.

Granted, some of you have a very niche cause… or a ‘not pretty cause’. There are people out there who get it. THESE are your prospects.

I watch a lot of organizations try to build case statements and the bulk of the message is about the CAUSE. If someone already gets the CAUSE then you’re wasting your message. If someone doesn’t get the CAUSE then you’re wasting your focus.

Don’t Make Assumptions for your Best Prospects

I’ve had two organizations out to Eagle Creek in the past week (prompting this invitation post) for some strategic coaching around ‘top of the pyramid strategies’. Some key reminders to both organizations — and you.

Don’t make assumptions for your best prospects.

We tend to tell ourselves a story, that there are other prospects out there that we just haven’t located or that we don’t know…. that we’re close to unlocking connections to other connections… and when we do, THEN we’ll really be on-the-road to huge funding success.

Hidden in this story is an assumption that our current prospects aren’t interested or don’t have capacity or simply aren’t going to give at ‘those levels’.

We need to tell ourselves a different story… that there aren’t better prospects on the planet than those under our nose… that these prospects are passionate about our cause… and that the reason they haven’t given is because we haven’t engaged them, illustrated the impact/need and ASKED.

Strategic Coaching at Eagle Creek – our home

Imagine 50 acres of country with a castle in the middle, surrounded by a creek, decorated everywhere by rock sculptures, and creative working areas… that’s our everyday environment at Eagle Creek. See picts

This summer we’ve had a number of social entrepreneurs, executive directors and development leaders schedule time to come out for one-on-one strategic coaching… it’s been productive and successful. We’re going to be promoting it more via the blog and website so readers can envision getting out of the office to this retreat-like environment.

Drop me an email ( to learn more about coming to Eagle Creek for one-on-one coaching or strategic coaching with your senior leadership team. It’s a great opportunity to refresh the batteries, jump start a funding plan and leave with actionable high-level prospect strategies.

The property is pretty awesome through late October, then it starts to get cooler… after that we’re better off to meet up in San Diego!

Note: Eagle Creek is in Columbus, OH… you can fly into Port Columbus or Dayton.

For Impact Collection: On Sales

We’re going to start packaging a collection of nuggets each month on a specific topic. I’m posting our first collection (for August): ON SALES. Sales is a huge part of our message… have a lot of nuggets and ideas/advice/counsel. You can read more about the thinking in the introduction.


Really really curious/eager to get feedback on this. How are you using? Sharing? Helpful? Too much? Too little? Send me a note:

A Sales Process

“You’re in sales… get over it!”

Tom first said this (that I recall) at a workshop in 2001.  He had developed a Sales Process for The Suddes Group several years earlier and we’ve been teaching around this sales process ever since – helping organizations build a sales teams, model and culture.

At a high level this process has two components: PLAN and EXECUTION.

The Plan:

The Execution:

The Plan components are pretty simple:

  • Case for Support: Every organizations needs to know WHAT to say (the message, the story, etc).

  • Presentation Design: And HOW to say it.

  • Qualified Prospects: And of course SOMEBODY to say it to.

Case for Support: This is not one-in-the same as a case statement.  I’m fonder of the prep work that organizations usually pile into the case statement process than the actual case statement – which amounts to a long document that nobody reads.

To me a case for support is about honing in on your message.  It’s about:

  • SIMPLIFYING that message

  • Pulling out the ENGAGING pieces

  • Answering the common questions for your org, your project or your campaign.

  • Communicating the WHY (cause and case), the WHAT (again, simplifying what you do or your priorities) and the HOW you’re going to get it done which includes either a funding PLAN or funding RATIONALE.

Most Case Statements spend too much time outlining the need with statistics.  You’re not going to convince your best prospects of the need (the CAUSE).  You’re going to sell your best on the SOLUTION (the CASE).  As well, I think most case statements neglect to dive into the funding plan.  One common reason campaigns don’t succeed is that top prospects aren’t convinced you have a PLAN to be successful with your overall funding goal.

Our case-for-support-shorthand is around simplifying the PURPOSE (at 30,000′).  The THREE funding PRIORITIES (at 14,000’) and funding PLAN (at 3′).
Presentation Design: It’s equally important to figure out HOW you’re going to engage people with your CASE.  Not PowerPoint’s, not fancy brochures… but experiences, tours, mind-maps… The questions you’re going to ask to create engagement.

In 1952 Walt Disney created a 4’x6′ storyboard illustrating Disneyland at night.  This visual design was what finally secured financing for Disneyland.  As he said, “Bankers don’t have any imagination, none at all.”  After reading this story we’ve often DESIGNED big storyboard engagement tools to draw people into the Case for Support.
Qualified Prospects: Without offering any guidance around our version of PREP most organizations will say they have a challenge with prospects.  We find they are better equipped around prospects than they think… and usually we find they need more work around the CASE and the DESIGN.  Prospects is about three things:

  1. Identifying prospects:  The single best way is to create an IDEAL PROFILE and share this with others to generate names.  Asking for prospects (without guidance) will get you nowhere.

  2. Prioritizing prospects: Build a Master Prospect List – a list of your most important prospects in descending order of importance.  Work from this list.  Live this list.

  3. Strategize prospects: Take the time to create a unique strategy for each prospect.  Don’t ‘wing it’.

In terms of Execution you can repeat again and again.  I could offer an infinite level of explanation I want to reinforce the simplicity and the discipline in following these three steps:

Predisposition: This is not a ‘step'; it’s a mindset.  Predisposition is everything you can do to make it NOT a cold call.  It’s also the part of the strategy to GET the visit.

Presenting the Opportunity: In the sales process most prospects can be ASKED on the first visit.  With bigger prospects you might move to a two-visit strategy – discovery and then the presentation (ASK) but never 6, 7, 8,etc. visits.

A good litmus test to know if there was a REAL ASK:  Could you follow-up and confirm the ask…with a number… in writing?  If not, was probably more of a murky exploration than a real ask.
Follow-up: See my notes on How to Follow-up.  This is where the money comes in.  This is where most organizations drop the ball.  If you can’t follow-up then you don’t need more prospects, you need to get better at following up.

  • Follow-up with the ask, in writing.  Then DRIVE The follow-up with the prospect… ball is in your court.

  • Complete a memo-for-the-record to create institutional memory.

  • Follow-up with yourself – be your own coach.  What could you improve for next time.