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Schools Provide Financial Aid. Investors Provide Scholarships.

Note to all Development/Sales Teams in EDUCATION.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had serious discussions on how to ‘sell’ financial aid.

Clearly, it should be a very, very compelling story!

In a recent session with a VP for Development at a college (a great guy with a terrific background but not a lot of collegiate ‘fundraising’ experience), I stated this simple distinction:



Joe said it was brilliant. I’m not sure about that, but it is simple and clear.

Note: The other big, big, big deal when talking about financial aid or scholarships is too really, really, really DO THE MATH!

It’s actually very simple MATH:


• COST(of Education): $C (Annual Operating Budget divided by # of Students. It’s hard to mess this up.)

• The ‘GAP’: $G (Cost – Tuition)

• DISCOUNT: $D or % (School ‘Dollars’ not funded with Real ‘Dollars’)


• ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP: $ES (20 x Gap or Discount or Average Financial Aid)


‘Bz Dev’ vs. Development or Advancement

I spent almost two days together last week at Eagle Creek coaching and working with someone who is, to me, the Ideal Profile of a Senior Advancement Leader at a college.

‘Joe’ has an entrepreneurial background, is passionate about the mission of his relatively new college, and is a great, great sales person. (Listens. Understands the story. Always presents the opportunity.)

Joe flew in from the West Coast, and we covered a lot of ground in 36 hours. Message. Math. Model. And More.

One of the most interesting ‘side bar’ conversations we had was around ‘titles‘.

‘Joe’ is currently the Vice President of Development. Pretty standard. The more we talked about a more appropriate title for him… the more we realized that he was really all about BZ DEV or BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT. He’s developing new partnerships. He’s developing new revenue streams. He’s developing new deals that are going to have a huge impact.

It just makes so much sense for him to be positioning himself with the 33 top prospects and transformational investors as responsible for BZ DEV! (Another option is Vice President in Charge of Starting Stuff, but that ended up too crazy even for me.)

To all the great Development Teams out there: Think of yourself as BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, as opposed to ‘fundraising‘. See if it helps.


Get Stuff Out the Bottom of the Funnel

I was writing a note to Pat Ryan, my good friend, former boxing captain and now the youngest member of the For Impact Team.

Pat is heading up ForImpact/YES (Your Entrepreneurial Spirit), our Entrepreneur and Social Entrepreneur Initiative.

He packed up all of his stuff at the beginning of March and drove west. Currently working out of Jackson Hole and will be based out of Boulder at least for a few months while we’re working with the Unreasonable Institute.

I love working with young superstars. I have my whole career. Nick Fellers, Kerry Suddes, Pat Ryan, Mike Gemm are just the latest. Decided to share my thoughts to Pat with all of you.

I’m not sure this is ‘blog’ material, but I’ve had this ‘GET STUFF OUT THE BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL‘ conversation with just about everyone with whom I’ve worked. (It’s probably because I’m worried that they will pick up one of my greatest faults/failures: not getting ‘stuff’ done and out.)

One of the greatest lessons of my life is what happens when you ACT! (Pat, Nick and Kerry will get this shorthand. Some of you as well.)


The metaphor of ‘getting stuff out the bottom of the funnel’ is fairly simple.

We all have a lot of stuff at the ‘top of the funnel’… Ideas. Drafts. Action Lists. Etc.

The most successful people in life have figured out a way to get things out the bottom of the funnel!

The most valued associate, team member or partner in this day and age is someone who ACTS… someone who GETS STUFF DONE.

To all who read this: ‘Get Stuff Out the Bottom of the Funnel‘!!! You can help Change the World!!!


Be An Entrepreneur (in the 4th Grade)

I had a blast last week going in to give a ‘presentation’ to my wonderful daughter Shannon’s 4th grade class on what it means to BE AN ENTREPRENEUR. We had the entire 4th grade (88 kids) from Glen Oaks Elementary. They do an entrepreneurial project every year where they make something… and then sell it… and then give the proceeds to a great cause. (This year it is Habitat for Humanity.)

I was trying to figure out a way to ‘explain’ entrepreneurship. Since Shannon and her class are really into mind maps… I drew what I thought was a simple explanation of what it means to BE an ENTREPRENEUR.

Check out the visual. May even give you a better understanding of what it means to be a SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR.

*The only real difference (SOCENT) is that you get to make great decisions about what to do with the ‘profit’. Give it away. Invest back in the company or organization or your people.


Lincoln Lawyer

I saw Lincoln Lawyer over the weekend. Michael Connelly book. Matthew McConaughey movie.

The title was based on the fact that the lawyer, played by McConaughey, worked out of his car, a Lincoln. Had a driver and a backseat full of office stuff. Worked in the car while he was moving back and forth between court and clients.

Reminded me of something I wrote 20 years ago about Development Officers/Major Gift Officers should abandon their office — and work out of their car!

An updated version of this would challenge all really good SALES PEOPLE (and by For Impact thinking, all Advancement Officers, Development Officers, Major Gift Officers) to forgo all of this distractions ‘in the office’… and work out of your car!

Think about it.

Get a driver. (Way cheaper than office space, etc.) iPhone plus iPad plus digital recorder plus Bose stereo system = major productivity.

Great sales people know they need to be out of the office… visiting with prospective customers/investors/prospects… sharing the story and presenting opportunities.

If you are out of the office and working from your car… you could make 3 visits a day x 3 days a week x 3 weeks a month… and make over 300 shoulder-to-shoulder visits a year!

Then, you could spend an hour or two in Starbucks’ ‘3rd place’… and the rest of the time at home with family or at the gym or whatever.

All kidding aside, there’s never been a better time in history to work out of the office!

Special Note: I would love to see somebody try this. I’d love to see just one great salesperson/Development Officer (with a serious financial goal that needs to get reached in the next few months) get out of the office… and ‘work out of your car‘. Let me know.


20 Ways to Ask [Archive]

It’s been a busy first quarter. I’ve been in 20 states coaching and training around the For Impact point of view, major gifts and organizational strategy. Looking at the activity of our coaches we can add another 13 states to that count.

This level of activity provides for constant and heavy feedback — I’m reminded at the power and value in helping people know HOW TO ASK.

Today I’m posting an audio that was first shared two years ago: 20 Ways to Ask.

Download the MP3

0:00 Greeting
2:08 The Clueless Close
3:37 The Listening Close
6:29 The Higher Level Close
9:56 The Qualifying Close
15:26 The Math Close
19:05 Conversations To Have With Your Board
25:17 The Binary Close
27:37 Holy Audacity
32:39 The Permission Close
34:54 The Goonies Close
38:35 Top Of The Mountain Close
40:59 The Predisposition Close
43:14 The Action Forcing Event
47:14 Practice Close
50:41 The Handful Of People Close
58:15 The Self-fulfilling Prophesy Close
1:00:33 The Momentum Close
1:06:54 Handling Objections
1:14:17 The Transformational Close
1:16:44 Wrap-Up



Most of you know my involvement with Notre Dame Boxing and the Bengal Bouts. It’s hard to believe this season is over.

Besides coaching for the last 40 years, I’ve also been a referee during the tournament itself. (On the first day of the tournament, we had 96 bouts! I think I refereed 35 or 40 of those. After 100 rounds, I decide I’d rather be actually fighting for 10 than refereeing 100.)

In case you need a ‘referee’ for a staff or board meeting, I thought you’d enjoy looking at some funny pictures from the Bouts.

Click here for more.


Teddy’s Challenge

Theodore Roosevelt

This great quote/line/challenge comes from Lynda Bowman, who is one of For Impact’s true Evangelists.

Lynda was a superstar in the For Impact World and passed away a month ago today. She was responsible for getting us in front of 100 wonderful champions at the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits last week.

She also cajoled, coerced and convinced me to do some work with her favorite For Impact Organization, Mission of Mercy. I spent most of the day with them last Friday and Lynda was absolutely right. It’s an amazing organization.

Lynda is up there somewhere, smiling at her ongoing Legacy of Impact.


You can communicate MORE and engage MORE through questions .

Yesterday we were with 70 grantees, partners and friends of the San Diego Social Venture Partners. In terms of live engagements, being with a great group on a sunny day at Mission Bay was not shabby.

We devoted an afternoon segment to ENGAGEMENT. ENGAGEMENT around the message. ENGAGING the right prospects. Maximizing ENGAGEMENT on a first visit.

One of the exercises we did was intended to illustrate how much more you can communicate 1:1 through questions.

We had participants split into pairs that didn’t know each other. We then gave one person from each pair a goal. Within a five minute time frame the goal was to COMMUNICATE – that and only that – which you need to in order to get the other person to say, “Wow, I get it. I think I understand what it is that you do. That’s pretty cool.”

On a first run the presenter usually starts spewing information. The listeners are all visibly overwhelmed… as a facilitator I can see them struggling to make sense of the information coming at them.

After the exercise listeners said they felt rushed, overloaded, confused… and those that where able to ‘understand’ generally said they had to WORK HARD to understand.

Should a funder have to WORK HARD to understand what you do?

On the second go around I over-facilitate the exercise. I instruct the presenter to ask at least 10 questions within the five minutes of the other person – such as, “What do you know about the Red Cross?”

I don’t know how the experitiantial exercise will translate to you in print but the lessons are POWERFUL.

Presenters said:

  • WOW! I was surprised that I was able to communicate so much more — in the first two minutes alone.

  • Not only did I feel like I was communicating more but it was ENGAGING.
  • It was WAY simpler when you just asked a few questions.

Listeners said:

  • I didn’t feel overwhelmed.

  • My head didn’t hurt and my mind didn’t wander.
  • I wanted to keep learning even more.

As humans we seek order. There is actually a principle for this called Gestalt. If we’re just talking (spewing) one-on-one without a framework then we’re actually DISTRACTING the person we’re trying to engage. That is, their brain must leave our conversation to start sifting and parsing the information – discerning a framework.

We could offer a framework – through the use of a visual or the rule of 3. The best bet is to actually give the other person all of your information using his or her EXISTING FRAMEWORK. Ask questions to find out what they know and then build your message around that.

Bonus: When a person talks, he or she is ENGAGED. By asking questions you’re not also ENGAGING them at a much higher level.

Double bonus: People like to hear themselves talk. If you can get the other person talking it’s never a bad thing.


Be a ‘Yes (Wo)Man’!

Seth Godin:

Who says ‘YES’ in your organization?

Plenty of people saying ‘NO’!

What happens when you say ‘YES’?

Who’s in charge of ‘Start Stuff’?


Plenty of people ‘Stopping Stuff’.

Again, what happens when you ‘START STUFF’?


Ship It!

More of Seth Godin…

Synchronicity? Read ‘POKE THE BOX‘. 24 hours later reading SUCCESS magazine with a great article on Reinvent Yourself by Seth!

I’ll touch on all ‘7 ways’ to reinvent later, but you need to understand #5 right now!


*This could/should be one of those ‘magic nuggets’ that changes your language (like Collins’ ‘Bus’, Loehr’s ‘Manage Energy, Not Time’, etc.)

“Scarcity creates value. People pay extra for things that are hard to get.

So, what’s scarce???

The ability to ship.”

Seth captures the 3rd part of the Entrepreneur’s Mantra (THINK BIG. BUILD SIMPLE. ACT NOW.) with one word: SHIP!

“Have the guts, the heart, the passion… to ‘SHIP‘!”

“Winners have turned INITIATIVE (ACT NOW/SHIP) into a passion and a practice.”

Get things done. Ship the product. Close the sale. Start stuff. Make a difference. Make things happen. Change the world.

Note: In our For Impact world… SHIP = VISIT = PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. Or, better yet… SHIP = JUST ASK!