Just Ask

Set Your Intent at the Start of the Visit

Set your intent at the start of a visit. In conjunction with strong predisposition, an INTENT will help you TRANSITION throughout the conversation and DRIVE toward an ask.  

Stating intent could be as simple as outlining the FLOW for the visit, “Thanks for taking time to visit with us today. As George shared, we’re hoping to connect with people that really have a similar passion for helping youth. What we would like to do is take a few minutes to get to know you [the OPEN]. We would like to share a little bit about what we’re doing [the STORY]. And, then, if it’s okay, we would love to talk about ways to help [the ASK / Presenting the Opportunity].

When they’re not able to navigate the ‘flow-of-the-visit,’ Development Officers have a hard time transitioning to the ask. It’s as though they are waiting to be invited to have a discussion about how the prospect can help.

In a broader and universal sense, any discussion is more productive when framed by a clear intent. As a reminder, here is the framework we use to illustrate the ‘The Flow of the Visit.’

 

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The Funding Roadmap: Align Your Story, Team and Sales Process

The For Impact Funding Roadmap has been built, tested, and refined in working with thousands of organizations to raise over $2Billion. Though each organization is unique, we believe the Roadmap has universal application – Whether you’re a startup, a college running a large campaign, or an international NGO – every funding initiative needs a STORY, a TEAM, and a FUNDING PROCESS.
[Download the PDF.]

Here are some quick thoughts on the Roadmap. [We’re also leading a teleseminar this Tuesday with more explanation, examples and help to APPLY the Funding Road Map to your funding. Register here.]

Design your STORY

The funding roadmap begins with STORY.  A great story is anchored in hope-filled purpose, simplifies what you do, and serves as a litmus for action.

  1. Simplify your MESSAGE. Message is what people HEAR, not what you SAY. What do we want people to HEAR? Ultimately, this should be a message about CHANGING, SAVING, or IMPACTING lives.
  2. Create your FUNDING RATIONALE. A Funding Rationale is why you need the money, and what you will do with money. Another way of thinking about this is around defining the ask. (Most organizations don’t have a good ‘ask’.)
  3. Design your PRESENTATION. The ‘ASK’ is an experience. We actually stop to think about the complete experience, from predisposition, to the environment, to the materials.

Really important point about STORY. This is not just a ‘funding thing’ – It guides your IMPACT and provides MEANING for your TEAM.  Organizations so often enter a cycle of strategic planning – I wish there was a norm to enter into a cycle of STORY planning!

Develop your TEAM

Jim Collins says, “First WHO, then WHAT.”  With our Funding Roadmap we might say, “First WHY, then WHO, then WHAT!”  

  1. Commit to SALES.  Every organization needs to STOP and make a commitment to sales. What does this mean for your team? For your organization? For your strategy/resources?  
  2. Engage LEADERSHIP.  Leadership needs to be bought into the STORY and likely even the source of the STORY. Leadership also needs to be bought into the model.  
  3. Model TEAM SELLING.  This is about defining roles and responsibilities for staff, board and champions.  

    Important note: In a true sales model, your board is not responsible for fundraising! In a true sales model there is a role for board members that is very different from saying they are responsible for fundraising.

FUND your VISION

  1. Identify/ Prioritize/ Strategize your PROSPECTS.  Prospects. Drive. Everything.
    There is a lot to say on prospects (that’s why we have a whole guidebook) but here are some key points:

    • Focus on your top prospects
    • Focus ‘top-down’
    • Present the Opportunity (And don’t make decisions for your prospects!)
    • When building a strategy ask this question, “What would it look like to maximize this relationship?”
    • Maximize relationships at this given moment
  2. Just VISIT. In the words of the prolific sales trainer, Brian Tracy, “Spend more time with better prospects.” We’ve been teaching this for years. There is so much value in the old maxim, “JUST SHOW UP.”
    The visit is the entire context for the ASK. It has three parts:

    • Predisposition
    • The Presentation
    • Follow-up
  3. Just ASK. This is kind of an alpha/omega to everything we teach.

Finally, it’s worth tying this all together as it relates to the For Impact Point of View:

Impact Drives Income.  

Impact is about your STORY.  

You need a PROCESS to make the INCOME happen.  

And, PEOPLE drive everything!

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Maximizing Relationships Requires a Funding Rationale

The absence of strong Funding Rationales (a.k.a. your reason for needing funds) likely means your organization is not maximizing relationships.

At a major-gifts level* there needs to be some specificity in terms of funding a specific program, outcome, or priority initiative. (See 10 Types of Funding Rationales).

If you don’t have a specific Funding Rationale then one of two things usually happens:

  1. The commitment is not maximized.

    People give to support a mission or a cause, and they invest more to support specific impact (or outcome).  Our experience has been that a portfolio gives 3x more when you’re able to clearly define a strong funding rationale!!!  

    This is the difference between asking,”Will you invest $10K in our vision?”  And, “Will you invest $10K to help with this priority and these outcomes that will help us deliver on the vision?”
  2. Funders (over) restrict the funding.

    When we see this, it’s an indication that the funder is creating a rationale because yours is not clear enough!

    Note: While restricted funding is not bad in and of itself, gifts committed with restrictions crafted by the funder hinder an organization’s efficiency or focus. Said another way, if you don’t define your priorities/rationales then someone will do it for you.

*For most organizations this is $10K+ and could come from an individual, corporation, or foundation.

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Don’t Make Decisions For Your Prospects

I’m consistently reminded by clients and boot camp alums of the power this one insight has on them.

Don’t make decisions for your prospects.

Most recently, I got a note from the head of advancement for a college who told me this ONE insight TRANSFORMED fundraising for him in 2016.

So, I think this is the perfect insight to reflect on as we start the new year.

  • Don’t assume the prospect has a ‘giving level’ just because they gave at X the past three years. Maybe they haven’t been asked.

  • Get comfortable with the Clueless Close. This is a great example of a way to ask – authentically – in which you’re not making a decision for the prospect.

  • Use this insight to question assumptions. At some point this year a natural partner will say to you, “You should ask for $X. That’s the right number for this prospect.”  

    Unless that statement is product of extraordinary strategy and dialogue with the prospect, don’t make a decision to LIMIT the ask. (Don’t worry about under-asking or over-asking. (See tip #6 in 9 Tips to Help You Get to the Ask.)

    When you catch this thinking you can coach yourself by asking, “What would this prospect give if they were totally committed to the impact? If this was their number one cause?” See if you can build your comfort to ask from this place.  

    Related: I sometimes find myself saying (with TOTAL authenticity), “It’s not my job to try and decide the appropriate investment level for you. It’s my job to make sure I make the best case for how we can have an impact and then let you decide if that’s right for you.”

  • Guard against the voice inside that says, “Maybe now is not the right time to ask.” We exist to save lives, change lives and impact lives. Deciding it’s not the right time to give a prospect the opportunity to save, change and impact lives goes against everything we are trying to teach.

Point of emphasis: This is an insight (or a guiding perspective), not a strategy.

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The Elevator Pitch is Dead

“What’s your elevator pitch?”

The lore of the elevator pitch comes from the early days of Hollywood when one would hope to trap an executive in an elevator and ‘pitch.’ The Elevator Pitch is an enduring shorthand that represents the simplest description of what you do.

You need brevity and simplicity… but simplicity alone is not your goal! Your goal is to get the other person to say, “I get it!” or “I want to learn more!”

The Elevator Pitch is dead. What we aim for is Elevator Engagement.

We achieve our goal more effectively and efficiently if we focus on the two-way (engagement) and not the one-way (pitch). Instead of spewing for 20-60 seconds (even if succinct), think about one great question you can ask the other person to get them ENGAGED in a conversation.

At our boot camps we do an exercise to illustrate that you can actually communicate WAYYYY more in 60 seconds by simply asking one or two questions than you can by talking (however concise you may be). It works because:

  • In asking a question, you start with the other person’s construct (or gestalt!).
  • We become fully engaged when we are talking. So, the simple act of getting the other person to talk changes the level of engagement. (This is Dale Carnegie 101!)
  • If you start with a question, you immediately learn what is pertinent and non-pertinent. You can use a short amount of time on relevant information.
  • Finally, we can position our work in their words. LISTENING is one of the most powerful selling skills in the world.

Earlier this year we were helping an organization make a neuroscience pitch to a foundation. The executive director was asked to appear before the foundation board and ‘make a pitch’. We had to reprogram her default, one-way pitch, to instead starting with a question to the panel of eight. She simply asked, “Has anyone ever had experience with a stroke, or a family member that’s had a stroke?” The board chair raised his hand and then spent two minutes talking about the importance of neuroscience research. Others jumped in. They were engaged — fully.

The executive director was able to simply build on the conversation. Though she had eight slides prepared, she found she only needed to use three of them (in response to the conversation). The board said it was one of the best pitches they had ever received – that’s because she didn’t pitch; she engaged.

She was awarded the grant!

Nota bene: There are many circles (usually tied to funding communities, e.g., silicon valley and nyc / financial) where a ‘pitch-deck’ is standard affair. Don’t let the ‘pitch deck’ put you in ‘pitch mode.’ As in the neuroscience story, you should focus on engagement. And, of course, we’re partial to the one-page pitch deck!

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The Leadership Circle: Occam’s Ask

This is an excerpt from the forthcoming For Impact Guidebook about Leadership Circles.

Every organization should have some form of Leadership Circle. In its simplest form, this is ONE baseline-major-gift level of support, positioned as the cornerstone of your annual fund.   The Leadership Circle is not just another giving level – It’s a funding program and a strategic pillar of your funding model that qualifies prospects, simplifies stewardship, provides flexible funding and annuity!

You’ve heard of Occam’s Razor; this is ‘Occam’s Ask’. It’s set at ONE level between $1K and $10K – messaged around your mission and vision in a way that represents your simplest and strongest sell.

HOW TO MESSAGE: (Examples)

  • STORY: “We would like to invite you to be part of the Leadership Circle – a group of 100 families, individuals and/or businesses that are extremely committed to the mission of the YWCA. Membership requires a minimum $10,000 investment in the fund, renewable annually. Each year, these funds will be used to make the biggest impact in the areas of after school programming, innovation and scholarships. But, ultimately, The Leadership Circle is about investing in our vision to transform our community.”

  • COLLECTIVE IMPACT: “This Leadership Circle level is significant because the collective power of its members – providing the core funding support that allows the YWCA to be an efficient organization, responding to the most important needs of women and families in our community. Additionally, this Leadership Circle has the impact of $2M in endowment for each 10 members.”

In working with over 1,000 organizations, I can’t think of a time when an organization didn’t benefit from a Leadership Circle. As a tool, its versatility rivals duct tape.

A FEW WAYS TO USE THE LEADERSHIP CIRCLE:

  • As a QUALIFIER. The Leadership Circle can be a GREAT ASK on a first visit. The story around the Leadership Circle should be tied to your simplest and strongest sell and if someone commits the $10K then you KNOW they are serious about your impact.
  • As a component of your overall FUNDING MODEL and CASE.  It’s helpful for top funders to see that you’re building a base. This should offset the perception (and reality) that you’re going back to the well with the same funders again and again. It’s really helpful to be able to show (in your plan) that at the same time you are asking for LEADERSHIP SUPPORT, you are also building giving-based-relationships through the Leadership Circle.
  • As a MOMENTUM BUILDER.  If you’re working on leadership support for a major project the Leadership Circle can be a powerful momentum builder. It’s one thing to go to your board and announce you THINK you will have some leaders on board. It’s another to back that up with the cash flow and commitments from 20 new memberships in your Leadership Circle.
  • As an ANNUITY and ENDOWMENT EQUIVALENT.  The membership base of support becomes an annuity. For example, 20 families at $10K is $200K per year which is the equivalent of having $4M in endowment!
  • As a FOCUSED way to TEST and BUILD TALENT. Having a Leadership Circle offers a safety valve for new salespeople. “When you don’t know what else to do, ask for a membership.” This is a clarifying directive. Asking for a membership does not eliminate the potential for a larger gift – if anything it qualifies the relationship (offering objective insight to the sales manager.)

    If a new major gifts officer fails to close a $1M gift it could be for a number of reasons. Maybe it’s a prospecting issue. Maybe it’s the story. However, anyone should be able to close Leadership Circle membership.

    Having developed dozens and dozens of new major gifts officers, I cannot emphasize the importance of this idea. It’s the simplest way to build confidence and funding momentum.
  • As an engagement strategy that PAYS. ‘Nuff said.
  • As a STEWARDSHIP CIRCLE. Get rid of all events and focus that energy on just providing stewardship and thanks to your Leadership Circle investors!  Here is an idea, make it someone’s job to simply get every member of the Leadership Circle to your organization to SEE the impact (return-on-investment) in a given year.  Good things will happen.
  • As ‘BUDGET RELIEF.’ Everyone wants ‘unrestricted funding’. A better message would be around budget relief. I would encourage you to try and create a funding model in which the Leadership Circle monies are unbudgeted. You can then report back to membership the IMPACT of their COLLECTIVE investment.
  • As a way to get into a PLANNED GIFT. Participation in the Leadership Circle for a few years offers a rationale to get ask for a planned gift to PROTECT the annual gift.  “You’ve been giving $10K every year as a member of the Leadership Circle. Could we ask you to PROTECT that with a gift from your estate?”  A $200K planned gift would ‘protect’ the $10K.

    Bonus: This can also be part of a TRIPLE ASK.
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The For Impact Workshop: New Locations Added

We’re hitting the road this fall!

Come see us at our For Impact Workshop: Fundraising on a Napkin in the following cities:

October 11, 2016 | Los Angeles, CA (Register using the code ficommunity for $100 off)
October 26, 2016 | Portsmouth, NH (Register using the code ficommunity for $100 off)
December 15, 2016 | Omaha, NE (Register using the code ficommunity for $100 off)

WORKSHOP OVERVIEW

Fundraising on a Napkin summarizes 30 years of fundraising achievement into simple, bold and actionable ideas that any organization can use – Non Profit, For Profit, Social Entrepreneur or NGO.

Whether you’re looking for strategic clarity, ‘sustainable funding,’ a jumpstart in major giving or just no-fluff advice that works – Fundraising on a Napkin delivers on all fronts.  Over 3.5 hours, we will share stories ‘from the field’ and the successful and innovative ideas that have transformed thousands of organizations and raised over $2B, including:

  • How to get strategic clarity
  • How to simplify your message and communicate the vision
  • How to find and engage with great leaders, prospects and champions
  • How to build a high performing leadership team
  • How to build an effective culture around funding the vision
  • How to ask

This high energy, motivating session will give you a road map you can follow to re-design (or design) your organization for impact and income success.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  1. Example-based coaching throughout the day
  2. Lots of interaction so you don’t get bored – this is not one of ‘those’ workshops
  3. Proven frameworks and, to the extent that we’re able with time, one-on-one strategy to help you apply the frameworks
  4. No power point (see no. 2) but lots of visuals
  5. Simplicity.  Complexity is not actionable, so we give you the tools that will have the greatest R.O.I. to your organization in the near term (next 100 days) and longer term (next 1000 days.)
  6. Value that goes beyond funding! We’re all entrepreneurs, so while we always want to create value in the form of funding results, there is a huge personal development theme to everything we do.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND

This workshop is for Executive Directors, Board Leaders and Development Professionals – Any and all responsible for shaping and implementing funding strategy.

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Predisposition Happens Before, During and After the Visit

We are professionals – We do not make COLD CALLS!

Instead, we PREDISPOSE the prospect or potential investor before, during and after the visit. We predispose them to our phone call to set up the visit … we predispose to the visit/presentation itself … and yes, we even predispose to the follow-up!

Predisposition

The word PREDISPOSE means to make someone inclined, in advance, to a specific action or attitude. You need to be predisposing potential investors:

  • To expect your contact,
  • To look forward to visiting with you about your amazing organization,
  • About your goals for the visit and how much time you need,
  • About when to expect your follow up and what you will be communicating in your follow up.

Reminder: Predisposition is not the same as cultivation and the ball is always in your court!

 

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Order Your Visits Using MO-COs, LEAD-COs and CO-COs

We’re big on the need to have one Master Prospect List! A great MPL rates and ranks your entire pool of Qualified Prospects/Relationships in descending order or importance.  However, deciding who you’re going to see first is very different from simply starting at the top of your Master Prospect List and working your way down.

Instead, begin like Archimedes on his best day by trying to LEVERAGE your commitments – building on each visit and commitment as you move along.

Here’s a great way to think about ordering your visits: ‘MO-COs,’ ‘LEAD-COs’ and ‘CO-COs’.

MO-COs are MOMENTUM COMMITMENTS.

These commitments are not necessarily about magnitude or size but rather ‘COMMENSURATE’… ‘SURPRISE’… ‘STRETCH’ gifts. These are the ‘EARLY ADOPTERS’ who get it, buy in, and provide the MOMENTUM to get going. In Good To Great, Jim Collins’ would call these ‘FLYWHEEL’ commitments. In order to get a FLYWHEEL moving at the beginning, it takes a lot of energy. But once there is some MOMENTUM… the wheel flies!

LEAD-CO’s are LEADERSHIP COMMITMENTS.

LEADERSHIP can literally TRANSFORM the organization, the campaign or the project. These are ‘Top of the Pyramid’ lead gifts that prove that our best prospects and investors have stepped up and give everyone the confidence needed to make the campaign or project happen.

“LEADERS LEAD.” – Bob Werner 

Thanks to my friend Bob, a big time Mensch and Jewish philanthropic superstar, for the quote. I believe that success (or failure) is a direct result of LEADERS LEADING. If no one steps up as the INTERNAL leader, a campaign is doomed from the get go. If you can’t find at least one EXTERNAL leader or CHAMPION, it ain’t gonna happen either. (My preference is 3 CHAMPIONS.)

LEADERS LEAD. Boards, committees, staffs, constituents, stakeholders FOLLOW.

If leaders are not ENGAGED and PASSIONATE,  then it becomes ‘The Suddes Group Campaign’ or ‘The Executive Director’s Campaign’, etc. Tom Mucks, another successful former Suddes Group partner, says, simply: “Passion and commitment from LEADERSHIP will overcome all obstacles.”

CO-CO’S are CONNECTOR COMMITMENTS.

Going after some of your most important ‘CONNECTORS’ early on is a terrific strategy to not only get their financial commitment (which may or may not be significant) but also to generate REFERRALS and STRATEGY on getting visits with your best prospects.

SPECIAL NOTE ON REFERRALS AND 3º OF SEPARATION:

Remember you are only 3º away from any QUALIFIED PROSPECT!! (Forget Kevin Bacon and his 6º – It’s actually been determined that it’s 2.78 ‘moves’/connections between Bacon and all other actors.) CONNECTORS and other NATURAL PARTNERS allow you to be one or two CONTACTS away from your best prospects. This is very, very important! Realizing you are only 3º away from ANYBODY who is a QUALIFIED PROSPECT lets you use your NATURAL PARTNERS (Champions, Board Members, Key Volunteer Leaders, Current Investors) to get you there.

Extra Special Note: I am only 3º away from the Pope, the President and the Prime Minister of Israel. And, I’m only 2º away from the Dalai Lama! How? Because of my CONNECTIONS and RELATIONSHIPS, I can get to ‘someone’ who can get to ‘someone’ who can get to the Pope, the President and the Prime Minister.

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July Teleseminars: Make Your Story Awesome and How to Ask

Teleseminars are a way for us to offer valuable training to our For Impact Community – in a short, ‘call in from anywhere’ format. Join us this Tuesday and Wednesday for two of our most popular topics:

Teleseminar: How to Make Your Story Awesome
Tuesday, July 26, 2016 1:00-1:45ET
Free for first 50 registrants

Description:
The story you use to maximize funding…
The story that brings rockstar talent to your doorstep and fully engages your team…
The story that you tell yourself every day to stay focused and fulfilled.

Story adds passion, purpose and urgency to your message, plan and every day actions.

  • Is your story about needing more money? Or changing lives?
  • Do you have a good story that helps get to the ask?
  • Do we have a story that engages the board? Engaging them as passionate champions and advocates?

This 45 minute teleseminar will:

  • Share examples of stories used at organizations to help them with these questions.
  • Address common challenges to funding, action and engagement.
  • Give you several actionable tools use can use to DISCOVER your story and make it AWESOME.
Teleseminar: How to Ask – The Language of the Ask, the Close and Follow-Up 
Wednesday, July 27, 2016 1:00-1:45ET
Free for first 50 registrants

Description:

“Would it be possible for you to consider taking the LEAD on this initiative?” [pointing to $1M]

“Where do you see yourself?”

This seminar covers over 20 PHRASES and QUESTIONS we use to JUST ASK.  It’s intended to provide very practical nuts-and-bolts examples to help you visualize HOW to ask:

  • New prospects
  • Board members
  • Long time supporters to step up

Stories and closes will include:

  • How to close like Steve Jobs
  • How to ask when you have no idea about capacity
  • How to ask AFTER the visit — dealing with ‘what I should’ve said was….’
  • Three ways to ask your very best prospect to take the lead and how to follow-up when you can’t afford a ‘no’
  • Questions to help you qualify on a discovery visit
  • How to make sure gifts close by a date / time
  • How to address the most common objections when they come up
  • How to predispose the prospect to a really really big ask

 

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Do the Simple Things to Avoid Team Complexity

In his book The Checklist Manifesto, author Atul Gawande calls attention to 3 different kinds of problems: the simple, the complicated, and the complex.  

From The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right:

“Two professors who study the science of complexity—Brenda Zimmerman of York University and Sholom Glouberman of the University of Toronto—have proposed a distinction among three different kinds of problems in the world: the simple, the complicated, and the complex.

Simple problems, they note, are ones like baking a cake from a mix. There is a recipe. Sometimes there are a few basic techniques to learn. But once these are mastered, following the recipe brings a high likelihood of success.

Complicated problems are ones like sending a rocket to the moon. They can sometimes be broken down into a series of simple problems. But there is no straightforward recipe. Success frequently requires multiple people, often multiple teams, and specialized expertise. Unanticipated difficulties are frequent. Timing and coordination become serious concerns.

Complex problems are ones like raising a child. Once you learn how to send a rocket to the moon, you can repeat the process with other rockets and perfect it. One rocket is like another rocket. But not so with raising a child, the professors point out. Every child is unique. Although raising one child may provide experience, it does not guarantee success with the next child. Expertise is valuable but most certainly not sufficient. Indeed, the next child may require an entirely different approach from the previous one. And this brings up another feature of complex problems: their outcomes remain highly uncertain. Yet we all know that it is possible to raise a child well. It’s complex, that’s all.”

I want to relate this framing to teams and dysfunction. Building and leading a team is a complex problem. Like raising a child well – “It’s complex, that’s all.”  In our work at The Suddes Group, we’re often building or reconfiguring teams to create greater funding results. One of the things we’ve observed is the relationship between the simple and complex problems. When teams don’t execute on the simple problems, the complex problems are amplified.

Any funding effort is largely a function of simple problems: (more…)

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“Can You Get Me A Proposal?”

Have you ever finished a great visit and had the prospect say, “This is great – Can you get me a proposal?”

If someone asks this we need to simplify on the spot – “Sure thing. Are you an email person?” (Everyone is.) “Would it be okay if I summarized our conversation in bullet point form and shot that back by email?”

Save yourself HOURS by converting ‘proposals’ to ‘bullet points.’

Read more on Follow Up.

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You Need to Have a Clear Answer to This One Question

When a Qualified Prospect asks, “How can I help?” you need to have a clear answer.

The fact that most organizations don’t have a clear answer is one of the biggest funding challenges in the ‘not-for-profit sector.’

I’ve heard many default responses that fall into these categories:

  • “I’ll get back to you.”  The fundraiser then heads back to the office, calls a meeting and says, “Prospect X is willing to help! What should we ask for?”  The team then makes up something that they think might be most attractive.
  • “Maybe you could come to our event?” The moves management route… “Would you consider joining our board?” Or [insert other ‘move.’] The prospect has already ASKED how they can help – You need an answer, not a chess gambit!
  • “How do YOU want to help?”  This is just a weak way of engaging.  I think too many in this sector are afraid of coming off as too aggressive if they answer truthfully.  If you are authentically representing your IMPACT, and they have asked to help, then it is your responsibility to Present the Opportunity.

In self-assessments, most organizations can identify challenges with prospecting, messaging or board support. But rarely do they say, “Everyone always asks me how they can help… And I don’t have a clear answer!”

Simply bringing attention to this could have a tremendous impact.

On my last three visits I’ve heard this from prospects, verbatim:

  • “Tell me concretely, how I can help.”
  • “I’m not ready to make a commitment today, but what do you need?”
  • From a foundation: “What’s a way we can be most helpful to this work?”

Here are some ideas and resources to help you answer the question “How can I help?” – all of which fall under our Just Ask! philosophy:

  1. Have a simple (major gift level) ask that works in every situation with every person.  

    We’re a big fan of the Leadership Circle for this reason. It represents your simplest ask around the most compelling (and general) areas of your case. It’s not used to maximize a relationship, but it offers a clear answer.

    E.g. “Our Leadership Circle is a group of people – like you – who GET the mission and are invested in our cause at the $10,000 level. Collectively, all the Leadership Circle members generate $1M a year that’s used for unbudgeted and timely priorities. Would you be willing to join?”

  2. Use the “Champion-Invite-Invest” framework.

    This is a great way of making the ask multidimensional.  On its own it’s no more clear than ‘give or get,’ however, you can use the framework to ask for specific help as a champion… specific referrals… and specific opportunities for investment.  (Watch 3 minute video.) 
  3. Develop a specific ask around a project, priority or plan.  

    This allows you to ask for support around a specific project (and corresponding funding number) OR a funding plan.  (Watch 3 minute video.)

In order to ‘Just Ask’ you need to HAVE an ask.

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Unless Someone Hears, There Is No Communication

 

“It is the recipient who communicates.  Unless there is someone who hears, there is no communication.  There is only noise.” – Peter Drucker
Such a powerful insight that it doesn’t need any color commentary from me. 

Pairs well with:

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” –  George Bernard Shaw
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Engagement Has a 12-hour Half-Life

I’m constantly trying to get people to think about what it means TO ENGAGE! I think we’re taught how to present, but we’re not always taught how to engage.

I define engagement as a dynamic within a relationship that holds attention, heightens interest and motivates action.

Think about a movie or a performance you’ve attended where you were engaged and left with that feeling of being present and excited. Think about how that engagement consumed your mind! Now think about how you felt the next day.

I believe engagement has a 12-hour half-life. That is, if we could measure engagement in some way, it seems to dissipate by half every 12 hours.

This means that within 24 hours of your visit the prospect has an engagement level at 25% of what it was after your visit.

THINK ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS!

As salespeople, we need to be making engaging presentations and asks. And, more importantly, we need to pounce on timely follow-up. It’s better to follow-up immediately, even if it’s 60% of your best effort, than it is to wait three days. At three or more days you’re just working to recapture engagement.

(Read more on the 24-Hour Follow Up Rule here.)

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9 Guiding Principles: Take Charge of Your Development Operation

fi_9GuidingPrinciples-225x300

We feel that these 9 Guiding Principles are pretty self-explanatory, but here are some notes to help you take charge of your Development Operation. ( Download and print the poster here.)

GP #1 START WITH WHY. What prospects hear (often times) is “We need money to meet our annual funding goal” or “Buy a table at our gala.” These messages have no WHY – no saving, changing and impacting lives – which is exactly what people want to do!
If the number one question of every investor is, “Why do you exist?” and the person you are talking to doesn’t care about your WHY, it’s very hard to talk to her about the what and the how. For more on this, see Altitude Framework PDF, How to Stay at 30,000′ and Simplify Your Message.
GP #2 YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT! Earl Nightingale, the father of personal development wrote The Strangest Secret in 1956 – the seed from which the personal development industry grew. Here is the ‘Strangest Secret’ – You Become What You Think About! It’s the difference in outcomes when you think about IMPACT, VISION, MEANING, instead of payroll, cuts in funding and survival. Read more here.
GP #3 CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY! WORDS ARE IMPORTANT! Stop using all the typical ‘nonprofit’ industry jargon. Start using ‘sales’ terms, ‘business’ terms, ‘common sense’ terms.

Appointments Visits
Power Points Presentation Tools
Asking for Money Presenting the Opportunity
GP #4 THINK BIG. BUILD SIMPLE. ACT NOW. Our absolute favorite Entrepreneur’s Mantra.

  • Think Big with your VISION. How are you changing the world or your world?
  • Build Simple using the Rule of 3.
  • Act Now – Just Visit. Just ASK. Ten steps forward and two steps back is still eight steps forward.

Here is a one-pager on TB/BS/AN that Tom did for Social Entrepreneurs.

GP #5 CHANGE (THE) RULES! This is a little play on words – in this generation’s lexicon, to RULE is a good thing. CHANGE DOES RULE. At the same time, in order to really CHANGE something (yourself, your organization, the world), you also to have CHANGE THE RULES. We believe it’s much stronger than that: THERE ARE NO RULES! Read more in our For Impact Guidebook: CHANGE (THE) RULES.
GP #6 ENGAGE GREAT TALENT. Small or young organizations (for profit/nonprofit alike) often identify FUNDING as their top challenge – until the organization really figures out a working funding model. At that point, the top challenge becomes the RIGHT PEOPLE. (We can help you with this!)
GP #7 DO THE MATH. You can’t ‘SELL’ unless you understand all the ‘NUMBERS!’ Doing the Math means owning and internalizing an understanding of your numbers – Your numbers tell an important part of your story. Doing the Math also means taking the time to simplify the numbers in a way that others – Your board, your prospects and your staff – can understand. Read more about Blue, Red and Green Math here.
GP #8 COMMIT TO SALES. You are in sales! Not everyone wants to hear that but it’s the truth. What is sales? Sales is the responsibility, the calling, the opportunity to carry the story of your organization – how it’s saving, changing and impacting lives – and share that story with people, 1:1, to build relationships with them to ASK them to help save, change and impact lives. Sales is about ATTITUDE!
GP #9 JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK. No explanation necessary. Just do it.
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Bring For Impact To Your City!

We’re excited to announce the 2016-2017 tour of our For Impact Workshop: Fundraising on a Napkin.

Workshop Overview

This workshop is a transformational experience for Executive Directors, Board Leaders, Development Teams, or anyone responsible for shaping and implementing organizational and funding strategy. We’ve simplified our biggest and boldest ideas, insights and motivations, and deliver them to you live and in person, including:

  • How to get strategic clarity
  • How to communicate your vision and message
  • How to find and engage with great leaders, prospects and champions
  • How to build a high performing leadership team
  • How to build an effective culture around funding the vision
  • How to ask

Partner Organizations

We field daily requests from people who want their network to hear the For Impact Point of View. This is your chance to make that happen! We’re looking for great Partners – Organizations who can help us spread the word in a community, fill the room, and host us in fantastic locations around the country. Email us now to discuss bringing the For Impact Workshop to your city as a Partner Organization.

Have For Impact Stop in Your City

If you would like to have For Impact come to you, simply vote for your city using this pre-registration form. Your pre-registration is not binding, it’s simply a way for us to crowd source our destinations. As a thank you, you’ll receive a coupon code for $100 off the registration fee ($145) for any For Impact Workshop.

After you’ve completed your form, share this post and encourage your network to vote for your city. We’ll announce our tour stops at the end of June.

More about Fundraising on a Napkin.

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Follow-Up is 90% of the Effort

Like predisposition, follow-up requires a specific strategy. Too often, wonderful presentations/asks/sales visits are wasted because there is no follow-up.

A typical scenario includes someone making a great presentation and then ‘hoping’ a gift comes as a result of the ask. Or, sometimes there is only a phone call that comes weeks (or months) later in which the substance of the dialogue is one question: “We were wondering if you had a chance to make a decision?”

It’s probably impossible to misquote or butcher one of Yogi Berra’s malapropisms, but here goes:

“Half of the game is presentation. The other 90% is follow-up.”

Huge problem: We consider our work finished when we get to the point of making the request. We feel like we’ve shared everything we can and now it must be in the prospect’s hands. That notion is wrong. In fact, follow-up is 90% of the effort!

Some reminders to help you with follow up:

  • This is not some one-off transaction. It’s all about a true relationship. Follow-up is about advancing the relationship, opportunity or plan WITH the prospect.
  • It’s either win/win or lose/lose! You’re presenting an opportunity to save lives, change lives or impact lives. Stop being so bashful.
  • Follow-up is about taking the opportunity to continue the excitement generated on the visit. You’re need to keep the momentum. This could mean:
    • An immediate follow-up letter.
    • An immediate follow-up phone call from champion or volunteer.
    • An immediate follow-up phone call from you.
  • Don’t dodge the issue! The worst follow-up is when you step politely around the pending request (hoping the prospect brings it up or announces to you a commitment.) Using your own style you need continue to work with prospect to advance the ball – be direct, sincere and authentic and remember – Hope is not a strategy.

Read more Thoughts on Follow Up from Tom.

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The Talent Spectrum

Almost everyone who is looking for a senior development person or MGO (Major Gift Officer) is thinking:

“It takes a lot of money to get an ‘experienced’ Major Gift Officer …”

OR

“I can’t pay the $80,000/$100,000 (or more) that we understand it takes to get this person.”

Bottom line:  You are NOT constrained by SALARY in your search for TALENT!

Think about this creative/contrarian idea of finding TALENT at both ends of the “Talent Spectrum.” My favorite place to be looking for talent on this spectrum is on the far left or the far right.  (And I’m not talking about political leanings!)

STAGE: 22-30 30-50 50-60 60-90+
‘BEST &

BRIGHTEST’

‘PRIME-EARNING YEARS’ ‘SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE’ ‘ELDERS-SAGES’
PROFILE:
  • Young
  • Passionate
  • Committed
  • Cause-Driven
  • Success-Driven
  • High Cost of Living
  • Family Priorities
  • Make A Difference
  • Seek Re-Potting
  • Great Coaches
  • Experience
  • Wisdom
  • Great Mentors
  • Untapped Resource
INVESTMENT:  CHEAP!  EXPENSIVE!!  REASONABLE.  FREE!!

Some thoughts on the ‘Spectrum:’

  • BEST & BRIGHTEST – Look on the ‘left’ end of the spectrum for incredibly passionate, excited, enthusiastic ‘BEST & BRIGHTEST!’  I would rather have two great, young, committed ‘Best & Brightest’ as Development Officers/ Major Gift Officers/Sales Staff … than an older, know everything, ‘experienced’ Development Officer. It costs the same, but I get double (triple) the coverage, usually with a much better attitude! 

    I look for ‘superstars.’ I love working with, coaching, mentoring the Best & Brightest. Look for young people who are unchallenged in their current job, bored, or just plain unhappy doing what they’re doing. Offer them an opportunity to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. 

    Seek ‘Best & Brightest’ if you’ve got a job that just requires a lot of energy, commitment, hard work, travel, etc. Don’t worry about lack of experience – think of it as no ‘baggage!’ Promise them an amazing experience, great contacts and ‘work’ days filled with challenges/meaning. 

    *Read Daniel Pink’s book, Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, on why people work. The new generation wants to be involved in something with a PURPOSE, not just a PAYCHECK! Many young people can view their work at a great For Impact organization as an upgraded internship or even as a kind of volunteer/youth service commitment!

  • SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE – This group at the ‘right’ is a terrific RESOURCE.  Their families are raised and they are ready to get out of ‘rat race’, want new challenges and would love to use their experience and talent to help change the world! We love these ‘young in spirit,’ talented Eagles and Ducks coming from the for-profit world who are aligning a change in career with purpose.

    This group can bring a wealth of business experience, sales and financial expertise, and just plain productivity to their position/responsibilities. If it’s the ‘right fit,’ someone at this point in life can have a HUGE impact on your organization. They are looking to get ‘re-potted’ and ‘re-energized’ around something more than work, more than a job. Yes, they still need to earn income, but many have other sources, and just want to be treated fairly. Recruit them on the MESSAGE – not the MONEY!!!
  • ELDERS-SAGES – There is an abundance of TALENT sitting under this category – just waiting to be asked! ELDERS-SAGES are a HUGE untapped resource for the For Impact world!  Maybe not full-time, but these people bring so much wisdom, talent and life experience to the table, that they can have an amazing impact in only a few days a week or month.

    Look here to find wonderful, wise and (often) witty Board Members, mentors and even ‘unpaid staff.’ Elders-Sages can offer incredible TALENT for a very affordable investment, with a huge ROI. If asked, many of these ‘untapped resources will work for satisfaction/ fulfillment (vs. money!).  (I’ve know some absolutely unbelievable ‘$1.00/year’ staff that put ‘paid staff’ to shame!) 

    Here, you’ll find people who love your cause, vision and message … a have a lot to contribute … and ‘HUNGER for these OPPORTUNITIES!!!’ 

    Just ASK them if they are interested! Ask a great Board Member who fits this profile to join you as a full-time/part-time STAFF PERSON! If ‘60 is the new 50’ then 70 and 80 are the new 60! ‘Boomers’ (millions of us) aren’t ready to retire, play golf, sit around the house, etc. We/they want to make a difference.   And, it’s not about ‘money!’ They will help and even INVEST!

    See Marc Freedman’s book, The Big Shift for great stuff on ’boomers’ and ‘second careers’ at For Impact organizations.

“Only one in five Americans over 55 is currently on the job …. Older Americans are wealthier, healthier and living longer …. And there is ample evidence that they ‘HUNGER’ for OPPORTUNITIES … to contribute their experience and time in meaningful ways.”

America’s healthy aging population is the country’s only INCREASING NATURAL RESOURCE.”

-Marc Friedman (Prime Time)

  • PRIME EARNING YEARS – People ‘in the middle,’ God bless them, need a job!  Their focus is often on ‘the job,’ a paycheck, supporting their family. A focus on ‘heart,’ particularly the element of ‘taking a smaller salary for work you love,’ is much tougher when you’re responsible for a family.

Look at this ‘TALENT SPECTRUM’ as a way of creatively adding great staff and volunteer leaders. I’m not suggesting you overlook all of the wonderful, talented, committed people who are in their “prime-earning years.” But don’t get caught up in thinking this is the BEST OR ONLY place to look because you need someone with X years of development experience!

Bottom line: Best & Brightest, Elders-Sages, Success to Significance. All of these are wonderful places to SEARCH FOR TALENT.

HIRE FOR ATTITUDE. TRAIN FOR SKILL (at the For Impact Boot Camp.) No more expensive hiring mistakes!

 

 

 

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Join us for Boot Camp in Dublin on June 1st!

Join us for Boot Camp in Dublin, Ireland on June 1, 2016.

The For Impact Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale, and take your organization to the next level.

This high-energy, day long session covers topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

The Boot Camp is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone individual skills – both personal and professional!

Early bird pricing is available for both sessions. Discounts are also available for Alumni Organizations and teams with 4 or more participants.

For More Information, FAQs and Registration:
For Impact Funding Boot Camps
Wednesday, June 1, 2016 | Dublin, Ireland
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Selling Happens at 30,000′: The Jerry Maguire Close

Leigh Steinberg is a sports agent who represented the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft a record eight times – a milestone unmatched within the sports industry.

Steinberg is often credited as the real life inspiration of the sports agent from the film Jerry Maguire.

Reportedly, Steinberg had a chief aim when going into any negotiation – to get the person he was with to agree that his athlete was the best (fill in the blank: quarterback, running back, etc) in the league. Once he got them to agree the rest of the negotiation was pretty easy.

Selling happens at 30,000′.

The number one question of every investor is, “Why do you exist?”

If the person you are talking to doesn’t care about your WHY, it’s very hard to talk to her about the what and the how. Conversely, if your WHY is her number one priority (i.e. you have the best running back in the league), you need establish that fact as early as possible.

More on closing here.

 

 

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Elevator Pitch vs. Elevator Engagement

“What’s your Elevator Pitch?”

The Elevator Pitch may be one of the most powerful framing devices ever. By common definition, the Elevator Pitch means being prepared to cram as much about ourselves/our organization as we can in between floors one and three.

But, did you know that the world’s first elevator pitch involved Elisha Otis climbing on top of one of the first elevators and taking an axe to the cable, showing that the brakes would work?

When you think of it this way, it becomes much more an Elevator ENGAGEMENT than an Elevator PITCH.

If you have 60 seconds with someone on an elevator, to pitch yourself, your impact or organization, presumably the goal is to get the other person to say, “Hey, this sounds interesting. Let’s keep talking.” If that’s the goal then we should be asking ourselves, “What’s the best way to engage in a short time frame?”

You engage more in a short time frame by asking questions than you can by talking. Instead of spewing for 20-60 seconds, even if succinct, think about one great question you can ask of the other person to get them ENGAGED in a conversation.

I’m not throwing out the concept, but I do want to draw your attention to the difference between a one-way communication and a two-way communication. Focus on the two-way (engagement) and not the one-way (pitch.) Think about the difference between SAYING and ENGAGING.

When you’re with a prospect on a visit, by phone, leading a tour or on an elevator, are you SAYING or ENGAGING?

Read more about Power Questions here.

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Early Bird Tickets For Colorado Boot Camp End in 6 days!

Early Bird Tickets for our Boot Camp on May 17-18 in Larkspur, CO (just outside of Denver) are available until this Thursday, March 31st. This event will sell out so get your tickets early!

The For Impact Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale, and take your organization to the next level.

This high-energy, day-and-a-half session covers topics like:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc.)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close, and follow-up

The Boot Camp is perfect for organizational alums, new hires, or anyone looking to hone individual skills – both personal and professional!

Early bird pricing is available for both sessions. Discounts are also available for Alumni Organizations and teams with 4 or more participants.

For More Information, FAQs and Registration:
For Impact Funding Boot Camps
Tuesday, May 17 – Wednesday, May 18, 2016 | Larkspur, CO
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On Board(s): A For Impact Guide to Greater Board Engagement (Audio)

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits. Here he is with the companion audio to On Board(s): A For Impact Guide to Greater Board Engagement.

“How do we engage our board?” is a question we receive with every client – this seminar is a direct answer to that question.

Here, Tom does what he does best – CHALLENGE assumptions you have about the board/staff dynamic, LEAD you with concrete frameworks and tools and SIMPLIFY everything with stories from the field.

Included in this seminar:

  • A change in perspective. “A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” – Alan Kay
  • How to change the dynamics of the board/staff.
  • How to get leaders ‘on board’ vs. ‘on the board.’
  • How to leverage a NEW leadership model.
  • How to identify the right leaders and champions.
  • 3 Key Frameworks (TOOLS) for leaders and leadership engagement.

A great seminar for senior leadership and board members, complimenting On Board(s): A For Impact Guide to Greater Board Engagement


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)
Right click here; to download file for listening offline.
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Take A Quantum Leap (Audio)

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits – Here he is with the companion audio to the Campaign Manifesto: Take a Quantum Leap. If you know us well you’ve heard the first 5-10 minutes of intro – Feel free to scoot past!


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)
Right click and save for listening offline.

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The ‘Old Guy’ Riffing on Campaigns, Lesson From the Field, Our Model and more

We’re reposting some of OG’s greatest hits – Here he is riffing on Campaigns, Lessons and the Model. Some great stories “from 30 years in the field” and the beginnings of Be For Impact, Impact Drives Income, Just Ask and more.

Download the audio file (right-click, “save as”)


(Recorded by Tom Suddes)

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Number of Asks: The ONE Lever

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg explores the formation of organizational habits. (You can read this quick summary by BusinessWeek.) One case study examines Alcoa’s remarkable business turn-around in the 80’s/90’s. CEO Paul O’Neill focused the cultural energy (and habits) around safety–more specifically, around the number of safety violations.

We call this the ONE LEVER. Meaning, to maximize team cohesion and culture change you need to focus energy on ONE LEVER at a time to create organizational change.

What will that lever be? Be specific. Be clear.

The Orlando Magic focus on ‘butts in seats’.
FedEx focuses on number of packages that don’t arrive when promised (aiming for zero).

Just about everyone reading this is seeking some form or another of improved funding results.

Call it a culture of philanthropy.
Call it a sales culture.
Call it greater revenue for impact.
Call it funding the vision.

When you’re bringing your team along there is so much ‘other stuff’ that can obscure progress. Events, predisposition activities, reporting, deadlines, board meetings.

As it relates to INCOME DEVELOPMENT the ONE LEVER is – in most every case – the NUMBER OF ASKS.

This is what we emphasize, design-around, message, measure, reinforce.

Obviously a funding goal is pretty important. However that is a RESULT of this measurable activity. Similarly, Alcoa’s leap in quality (and then profits) was a RESULT of increased safety.

One lever: Number of Asks. Preach it. Measure it. It will be transformational. I promise.

Note: It’s not uncommon to see an organization (of any size) with fewer than 10 real-asks per quarter. In fact, it’s a safe bet that by our definition most are at ZERO.

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What Does An ‘Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

In the For Impact world A REAL ASK satisfies this checklist:

  • We were WITH a prospect – physically.
    See Just Visit. There are exceptions to this but 19 times out of 20 the ask is done in person so that there is engagement and dialogue.
  • We asked the prospect for specific help with a specific project, program or level of support.
    In doing so the dollar figure was clear. Example: “John, we need your help, would it be possible for you to underwrite this project for $20,000?”It wasn’t open-ended, we didn’t ask, “Could you give whatever you can give?”

    Also, in being specific, the funding rationale wasn’t for ‘unrestricted’ or ‘operations’ – those aren’t specific. (See: Have a Funding Rationale)

  • The ask was a dialogue – a back and forth with questions and listening — so that we could ensure that we were maximizing the relationship at this given moment.
    Read: The Ask as a Dialogue to help with this concept.
  • We will expect a YES or a NO – and will follow-up accordingly.
    Thinking about how to get to a YES or NO ensures you have covered appropriate mechanics and you can continue within a sales process. Otherwise, there is a risk of pending into oblivion or unclear follow-up.

Without the definition provided by this checklist we often find:

  • A visit is scored as an ask.
  • There is no real ask – but rather a suggestion that it would be great to have the prospect’s help.
  • Some psychological shift whereby the salesperson only asks AFTER the prospect says he or she would like to make a gift. That’s not an ask. The relationship certainly wasn’t maximized and it’s an incredibly low return-on-energy methodology.
  • The salesperson raises money without asking. This is similar to point above. To be clear, just showing up DOES yield funding – this is our point behind JUST VISIT!But, in terms of measurement this is harder to spot (and therefore coach around), and usually shows up because a sales person will report the following:
    • 25 visits
    • 20 asks
    • 3 commits
    • 0 declines

    If you follow this ask checklist, you SHOULD get a ‘no’ from time-to-time.

  • There was a request for help, but there was no funding rationale or dialogue. We see this with a lot of organizations that ARE raising money. They’re out visiting, they’re asking the prospect to help but they’re not maximizing the relationship. (Not the worst problem in the world – but usually leaving tons of money on the table).

Some reminders:

  • We’re pushing for everyone to be more assertive. That doesn’t mean you always have to ask for funding on the first visit. There are certainly many times where it’s a discovery or predisposition visit (but never 4-5 ‘cultivation’ visits before we ask).
  • Kerry was with a client last week and they visited with a high capacity prospect for a first time discovery visit. There was no ask, however Kerry did ask for permission to make the ask. She closed the visit by saying to the prospect, “Today we wanted to share the vision and see if we could get you on board with our story. As we move along would it be okay to talk to you about supporting that vision?”
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Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Just Ask. Just Ask. Just Ask.

 

This napkin has just two words. Please note that it does not say:

Ask…

…when timing is perfect.

…when you know exactly what to ask for.

…after you’ve visited with the prospect nine times.

…when you’re entire board is on board.

…when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.

…when you have the perfect message.

…when you have the perfect materials.

It says, Just Ask!

Timing will never be perfect.

The only way you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).

Cultivation is for people who can’t communicate. You are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives; if you’re with someone who wants to do just that, you can ask on the first visit.

I still feel like I want to puke before a big ask.

The only way to truly test a message is to ask.

You don’t need perfect materials – You need a tool to help you engage in a conversation.

Just Ask is all about action.

It’s permission to move. Nothing happens until you ask!

Until you ask, (one-on-one) the message is not personal.Until you ask, people don’t know how they can help.

Until you ask, the prospect doesn’t guide you through what else is needed (from the you, from the org or from the plan) to make a commitment.

Until you ask, a prospect can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.
This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.
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A Sale Happens On Every Visit

Zig Ziglar, one of the greatest sales trainers of all time, said that a sale is made on every visit. Either you sell the prospect on all the reasons why s/he should buy or s/he sells you on all the reasons why s/he should not.  Period. 

My contention is that if you don’t decide to be one side of that either/or then you will almost always let the sale happen TO YOU. You will almost always be sold on reasons why the person cannot give what you had hoped for or what you need to deliver on the plan.

Remember: Hope is not a strategy.

So, decide. Don’t hope.

Years ago, when Tiger Woods was in his prime, he remarked that he does not putt the ball until he has decided it will go in the hole – Until he has that level of certainty, confidence and visualization.

This is the level of conviction you need to bring to every VISIT.

Of course, every putt does not fall and every ‘ask’ does not close.  But, you can’t go into a visit ‘hoping’.  You need to decide the commitment is a foregone conclusion.

As a mentee of Tom Suddes’ for years, I watched and learned the hard work that went into making a great case. Tom would not go into make a visit or presentation until he was able to wrap his mind around the emotion + logic of the case so completely that he thought, “Why would someone NOT make this investment?”

There is an old sales maxim: I am sold myself.  Certainly you don’t visit until YOU are sold.  That work is upon us as sales people to own that conviction.  It’s not up to a manager or a CEO.  It is OUR responsibility to do the work to be totally sold. 

I don’t want to hide this from you – Arriving at that level of conviction, preparation and DECISION is hard work.

For those that still have an aversion to the word ‘sales’ – Get over it.  This isn’t about used cars. It’s about making your case and engaging in such a compelling way that people understand what it will take to save lives, change lives and impact lives. This makes Zig’s challenge perhaps MORE important in the world of philanthropy.

We live in a great world. People are generous. You are doing good work.  

I believe 80% of the time gifts are not maximized because a generous person said he or she would commit $10K and we did not sell them on the true need (e.g. $100K) to deliver the impact. Instead, we were sold on all the reasons why they could not make the larger commitment.

 

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Start Selling Your Impact

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

STOP ASKING FOR MONEY.

Money is merely ‘worthless wampum’! No one likes asking their friends, much less strangers, for money. (The rare volunteer who really loves doing this should be treasured as a true gift, psychoanalyzed, and then cloned.)

Your conversations are not about asking for money. They are about changing the world. (Of course it requires resources to do that.)

START SELLING YOUR IMPACT!

PRESENT the OPPORTUNITY…

To help with your cause and your case.
To move from success to significance.
To make an impact and change the world.

Special Note: Ask any Board Member (or, for that matter, any of your staff) if they’d rather ‘Ask for Money’ or ‘Present Opportunities’ (to make an Impact.) You already know the answer.

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Stop Cultivating and Start Communicating

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Commit to SHARING THE STORY and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY!

 

Why do we cultivate people?

As Tom always reminds me, “Cultivation is that thing you do with plants and manure.”

We really, truly don’t understand ‘cultivation.’ We are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives. If you can help people understand your impact and they want to help then they don’t need cultivation -They need to be asked!

Here’s a simple story to emphasize the point. Imagine that you and your prospect were walking around a lake and came upon a drowning child. What would that prospect do? It’s likely she would jump in, fully clothed, committed to saving the life of the child. And so would you. Try to imagine this same scenario where you would first try to spend years getting this person interested in saving children (read: cultivation.)

So, if you’re actually saving or changing lives then you can’t really argue that cultivation is needed. The issue at hand is much more about communication. That is, how you communicate your impact in such a way that is clear, concise and compelling. So clear, in fact, the prospect jumps on board (read: into the lake) to make a major investment in your impact.

If you can communicate the impact, the income will follow. If you can communicate the impact, you can ask for any amount of money on the first (sometimes second) visit. The challenge, again, is that we struggle with our message. Or, we might even have the message, but we’re not out visiting with people, one-on-one, to share the message and present the opportunity for them to help (or save the child.)

Your job is to communicate the impact, not spread manure. It’s blunt but we want to motivate you to action with this idea. You’re doing great things – so present the opportunity for someone to help now.

P.S. If you think this example is too simplistic or unrealistic, please know that this same example is what set into motion the greatest philanthropist of our era – We’ve altered the lake example somewhat but borrowed it from noted philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer who wrote an amazing article in the New York Times, “What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?” In that article he also explains Bill Gates’ moment of clarity around impact that moved him to action.

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Take Massive Action

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

A ‘Campaign’ is all about ACTION. The literal translation or definition of a ‘Campaign’ probably has its provenance with Napoleon and War. As any great general or military leader will tell you, success in war is about MASSIVE ACTION – NOW.

We’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of organizations screw around for years trying to figure out what to do, when to do it, where to hold the kickoff, etc. There are great organizations out there who, right now, are still debating the “impact of the economy and the recession,” or “somebody else has kicked off a campaign in our community” or “our donors are tired and maybe we should wait” and on and on. UGH!

CHALLENGE FOR THE DAY: What are the 3 ‘MASSIVE ACTIONS’ that you could take RIGHT NOW that would cause an EXPLOSIVE EXPONENTIAL JUMP or a QUANTUM LEAP for your organization?

WRITE THEM DOWN.

Then, GO DO ‘EM.

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DO THE WORK

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

 

Steven PrePressfieldQuotessfield is one of my absolute favorite authors and thinkers. He’s written some fabulous historical fiction Tides of War and Gates of Fire, plus The Legend of Bagger Vance. My first copy of WAR OF ART is so full of notes, I can barely read his words!

DO THE WORK written in his usual powerful voice – challenges us to overcome RESISTANCE.

Please trust me on this: ‘DTW’ is required reading for entrepreneurial start-ups, ‘artists’, sales professionals and FOR IMPACT leaders.

Takes 30 minutes to read… but have notebook handy for nuggets/gems like these:

    1. To ‘ROCK & ROLL’, act on these 3 mantras:
      • Stay Primitive. Instinctual. Gut. Go for it.
      • Trust the Soup. Forget ‘control’. Put faith in the source, your muse, yourself.
      • Swing for the Seats. In For Impact Vocab: THINK BIG!
    2. ‘START AT END’. If you don’t know the ‘end‘… it’s hard to ‘start‘. Get your goals down and execute!
    3. START BEFORE YOU ARE READY. Great line! Stop researching, planning, thinking, worrying -JUST START!
    4. And, DON’T THINK. ACT! Overcome Resistance. Don’t procrastinate. Do it now.

DO THE WORK. START BEFORE YOU’RE READY. OVERCOME RESISTANCE.
WRAP IT. SHIP IT. DELIVER IT.

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Learn By Going

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we will use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

Julia Cameron, one of my favorite writers/authors/thinkers, shares a terrific quote from poet Theodore Roethke that fits perfectly into our focus on ENGAGEMENT!

“I LEARN by going where I have to GO.” – Theodore Roethke

I believe it has meaning for us as INDIVIDUALS and as SALESPEOPLE.

You learn by going where you have to go – If you want to learn to sell, you need to get face-to-face with more people. If you want to learn to make an ask, then you’ve got to do just that – ASK. If you want to learn to surf or ski or box, then you must practice surfing, skiing, boxing.

Robin Williams told Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting that he had never “done” anything – He only read books. He hadn’t “smelled the paint in the Sistine Chapel, etc.”

I’m sure you get the point.

If we “learn by going” then we need to execute on our plan to VISIT with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. As much as possible.

P.S. If Roethke is a little existential for you, listen to Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best sales trainers, writers and thinkers, when he summarizes all of sales training into this ‘SIMPLE’ challenge:

“Spend MORE TIME with BETTER PROSPECTS.”

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10,000 PUSH-UPS

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: ACT/EXECUTE on YOUR ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY!

Let’s use this ‘Push-Up’ analogy to help reinforce ACTION.

If you commit to do 10,000 push-ups a year, the SIMPLEST and most SUCCESSFUL way to achieve that goal is to do 30 PUSH-UPS A DAY. (1 set, 3 sets of 10 or 2 push-ups an hour the 15 hours you’re awake.)

To reinforce this point even more, let’s say you wanted to do 1,000 x (your age) push-ups a year – The SIMPLE EXECUTION is 3 sets of (your age) a day…every day. (For example, if you’re 49, you would do 49 push up 3 times a day. This actually gets you more that 49,000 but you get my point.)

In this model, you can’t skip 3 days. You can’t wait until June to begin. You won’t hit your goal.

Just like with push ups, you can’t wait until November to make 100 visits (because you’ve only made 3 visits a month up until then.)

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The Goal of Predisposition

The goal of predisposition is simple: TO GET THE VISIT!

It is NOT to ‘sell on the phone’!

A really strong predisposition e-mail or letter makes the follow-up phone call very assumptive/presumptive! “I’m following up on the note that you received from (Natural Partner) and I’d like to see if you might be available next Tuesday morning? Or would Wednesday afternoon be better?”

This is not a spiel. It works.

Perseverance is key (as well as ‘practicing’ the words you will say) with your Best Prospects.

Typically, once you get through on the phone, there are three possible answers a potential investor may give you.

  1. YES.

    Awesome. Get date and time set. Follow-up with a note to confirm. Send any additional predisposition material for the actual visit itself.

  2. MAYBE.

    “What else could I do that might help you decide on getting together?”

    “I can meet you anywhere, anytime.”

    “Would it help if you spoke with (Natural Partner) to understand more about why they are engaged with us?”

    If the timing isn’t good, schedule a specific date to call back and follow through.

  3. NO.

    If this is the type of ‘no’ that means, “No time, but I still like your organization,” you could send them a President’s Circle invitation or a really strong follow-up letter, with a request. If it’s a ‘no’ that means, “No, I can’t really see this as a priority.” Or “I’m not in a position to help” then you would send a nice thank you and MOVE ON!

A quick reminder about perseverance with your most Qualified Prospects: You cannot mess up a contact to set up a visit if you are authentic!

  • “It’s really important that we meet with you.”

  • “Been trying hard to set this up because of urgency, importance, etc.”

  • “Sorry we have missed connecting so often, and I know I’m being really persistent. I just know how important it is for us to be sharing our story with more people like you.”

WHATEVER IT TAKES. I know. It’s an old and cheesy coaching cliché. However, if you take ‘perseverance’ and ‘attitude’ down to the ‘how’ – the answer is to do WHATEVER IT TAKES! Call back until they tell you not to call anymore. Stay in contact until you’ve got the visit set up. Call in all of your SUPPORT team. WHATEVER IT TAKES.

 

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Memorable Experiences as Powerful Predisposition

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: COMMIT TO BETTER PREDISPOSITION.

33Napkins-18-SpecialEvents

You’ve seen our rant on “No More Special Events.”  If not, I’ll summarize here: SPECIAL EVENTS ARE NOT ‘SPECIAL!’

They rarely generate income anywhere close to the corresponding staff and volunteer effort and time – Even though we’ve spent more that half the year selling tables, sponsoring golf holes or lining up silent auction items.

P.S. Not only do your volunteers and staff hate these Non-Special Events, so do all of the ‘INVITEES’ … who clearly don’t want to go to another ‘un-memorable, time-away-from their-family’ auction, gala, ‘fundraiser’!!!

Instead, MAKE EVERYTHING YOU DO A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE!

A ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is about your Vision, your Message, your Impact.

Every ‘MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE’ is an incredible PREDISPOSITION OPPORTUNITY.

A MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE isn’t about the number of people in attendance, it’s about getting the best people in attendance. Instead of selling tables, think about getting the best 10 prospects you have in the room (preferably your room) and knock their socks off with the IMPACT.

 

 

 

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No More Cold Calls!

The word PREDISPOSE means exactly what it says. (Weird, huh?) We are literally (not figuratively) predisposing the person or persons, in advance, to our contact.

PREDISPOSITION is anything and everything we can do to make it not a cold call (because we are professionals who don’t make cold calls!)

Always PREDISPOSE the prospect/potential investor to (1) your phone call to set up the visit, (2) the visit/presentation itself and (3) the follow-up.


Note: Predisposition is not ‘cultivation’!

 

 

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Nix the Cultivation Event and GO AT THE GOAL

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Set your goals of ENGAGEMENT.

We often see ‘Fundraising Plans’ that call for X number of Cultivation Events a year.

The coaching on this one is always the same: Nix the Cultivation Event and GO AT THE GOAL.

  • The best way to build and maximize relationships is 1:1. (See 1x 10x 50x.)
  • When you do an event, your ‘network’ is going to expend a ton of energy getting people to the event – I would rather expend that collective energy on getting 1:1 intros.
  • You do the event and you’re still going to have to work to get the follow-up – which is the goal! SO, just go to the goal.

(See ‘No More Events’ and ‘No More Cultivation’.)

Nixing the event and focusing on getting more visits is a simpler, more productive approach. It may feel challenging to work through the ‘but-what-about-objections.’ So, here’s a few ideas:

  • You need a good message and story for the visit. Absent of this people hear (and what creates our reluctance) is “Can I come and ask you for money?” If instead people heard (and we believed), “We’re having an amazing impact and need more people like you to know about it!” (Read more The Story for the Visit here.)
  • The first visit doesn’t need to be an ambush for money. Quite the opposite – the goal should be to ENGAGE. To LISTEN. And then to overwhelm the other person with the IMPACT so that he or she says, “This is incredible, how can I help?”

This shift in thinking save hundreds of hours, thousands and thousands in fundraising costs and countless lives (because we will generate much more INCOME for our IMPACT).

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Set Your Goals for Engagement!

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Set your goals of ENGAGEMENT.

Set your 2016 Goals for Engagement now! These goals need to be SPECIFIC, WRITTEN and MEASURABLE.

Here are 3 Examples:

  • The ‘33 GIFTS’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our TOP 50 PROSPECTS in order to generate 33 COMMITMENTS, which will provide 90% of our funding needs!

    This will be a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

    E.g. We will generate $1 Million from:

    1 Gift of $200,000
    2 Gifts of $100,000
    4 Gifts of $50,000
    10 Gifts of $20,000
    16 Gifts of $10,000+
    33 Totaling $1 Million

    Note: Need $5M? Multiply the right column by 5. (Or 4 for $4M and so on.)

  •  

  • The ‘Spartan 300’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our BEST 300 prospects (including our Top 33), which will generate buckets of money to Fund Our Vision.

    E.g. We have 3 members of our SALES TEAM, and we will collectively make 30 VISITS ENGAGEMENTS a month for 10 months (using August and December for R&R).

    We will use a 3x3x3 goal which challenges us to collectively make 3 visits a day, 3 days a week, 3 weeks out of the month.

    Note: If you have one member of your sales team, divide this goal accordingly: The ‘Spartan 100’ plan!

  •  

  • The ‘1,000 ENGAGEMENT’ Plan

    As a larger For Impact organization with 6 committed Relationship Managers, we will make 1,000 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS this year.

    Each of our 6 Relationship Managers will have a Portfolio of 300 Qualified Prospects. Each of us will make 167 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS (ENGAGEMENTS) this year.

    We will average 15 QUALITY VISITS a month and do all of the appropriate preparation, predisposition and follow-up.

    We will do ‘DISCOVERY’ on every visit and with every prospect. We also commit to make the FULL PRESENTATION around the TRIPLE ASK for TODAY, TOMORROW and FOREVER (Annual Operations, Campaign Priorities and a Legacy/Planned Gift.)

    *20% of these 167 visits will become our TOP 33 gifts for each Relationship Manager.

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Master Prospect List – QPI Rating System

We have used the MPL tool to run hundreds of campaigns and major gifts initiatives. It’s simple and powerful. Rate your top prospects to create a Master Prospect List in descending order of importance. Then focus all your time (literally) on your top ten prospects — you will be amazed by the results.

Download the excel file.

Each prospect receives a rating in each category 1-5 (5 being the highest). The sum weighted total of ratings in each of the five categories will give you the Qualified Prospect Index – You need to visit with anyone 90 and higher today!

Definition of Key Terms

Relationship Manager (RM)

This is the person within your organization that manages the relationship — does not have to be the point of contact but must responsible for thinking about this prospect every day.

Natural Partner

This is a person, internal or external to your organization that has the closest relationship to the prospect.

Capacity
Weight: 7

This number is the prospect’s capacity to make a major gift – a gift level that is worthy of one-on-one time with a prospect. This is not an indication of what you think the prospect WILL invest in your organization – it is an indication of what you think the prospect COULD give.

For example:
5 – $1MM
4 – $100K
3 – $10K
2 – $1K
1 – Unknown

Relationship
Weight: 6

This is an indication of the prospect’s relationship to your organization or to your cause. If this prospect is on your board it should be a five (5). If, for example, you are the American Cancer Society, and this prospect is a cancer survivor, the rating should be a five (5) even with no gift history.

For example:
5 – Specific interest in our organization or cause
4 – Heavily invested in our cause or within a sector or geography in which we operate

Timing
Weight: 3

Generally timing is always a five (5) unless you have specific knowledge otherwise.

Gift History
Weight: 2

What is this prospect’s giving history to your organization? You might determine that a five (5) on the rating scale indicates lifetime giving of $100,000+ or ten consecutive years in your Leadership Society. Below is an example using higher numbers.

5 – Has given multiple lifetime gifts and/or has given $1M lifetime
4 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $100k lifetime
3 – Has given one or multiple gifts and/or has given $10k lifetime
2 – Has given 1 lifetime gift and/or has given $1k liftetime
1 – Has never given and/or has given less than $1k lifetime

Philanthropy (or Gut Feeling)
Weight: 2

This is a measure of the prospect’s general willingness to give. Has he or she supported other organizations? Is it a foundation (5)? Do we have a good feeling about them? Give it a 5! This is also where I take into account the person who reaches out to us first or has said, “I want to help.” or “I want to do something big, can we talk?” Give that a 5 as well.
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Where Do We Find NEW Prospects?

In our work with thousands of organizations, staff and volunteers, this is the most FREQUENTLY ASKED (BIG, BIG, BIG) QUESTION:

“WHERE DO WE FIND NEW PROSPECTS?”

MY ANSWER: THIS IS THE WRONG QUESTION!!!

It’s not about ‘NEW’ PROSPECTS, it’s about the BEST PROSPECTS!

Why look for ‘New’ Prospects when you haven’t MAXIMIZED RELATIONSHIPS with your BEST and most QUALIFIED PROSPECTS!

FUNDING YOUR VISION is usually about your TOP 33 INVESTORS and perhaps your BEST 300 QUALIFIED PROSPECTS. Many of these top prospects are most likely sitting right in front of you… right now! (Not literally, but pretty darn close.)

The reason many of you are looking for ‘NEW’ prospects is because you believe:

“Our Old Prospects are tired of giving.”

“We have gone to the well too many times.”

“We can’t go back to our best prospects for more money.”

“We are taking advantage of our current relationship with our top prospects.”

To this, I would add 3 other thoughts coming from your current top givers that I also believe are very fair:

“I want you to get other people involved besides me.”

“I want you to broaden the base of support.”

“I don’t want to be the only one funding this organization or this project.”

While ‘expanding your base’ and ‘bringing in new relationships’ is important to your organization, it’s not the ‘ANSWER’ to your funding challenges!!!

I’d like to challenge your thinking with this idea: LOOK IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!

Stop ‘searching the world’ for new prospects/ fresh money. Before you figure out how to get to Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or the Walton’s…look to your own CHAMPIONS who have the strongest interest in your Cause and your Case.

Here are 3 stories to reinforce this idea of ‘YOUR OWN BACKYARD’.

Russell H. Conwell wrote one of the most powerful and motivational classics of all time, Acres of Diamonds, published in 1921. Conwell actually gave his speech entitled “ACRES OF DIAMONDS” more than 5,000 times and earned enough in this effort to help found Temple University!
Here are summarized versions of 3 STORIES in the book that I hope will have a huge IMPACT on your thinking about ‘NEW’ PROSPECTS.

GOLD. In 1847, a man who owned a ranch in Northern California heard that gold had been discovered somewhere in Southern California. He sold his ranch to a Colonel Sutter, and then went south to search for gold and riches, never to return.

Colonel Sutter put a mill on that stream. One day, he discovered flakes of gold in the spill off. Sutter’s discovery, in 1849, started the CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH!

DIAMONDS. An old Persian farmer was desperate for riches. He sold his farm, collected his money, left his family and went off in into the garden to drink. As the camel put his nose in the shallow water of the garden brook, the new owner saw a flash of brilliance and reached in and pulled out a diamond (in the rough). This discovery became the famous diamond mine of GOLCONDA!

OIL. In Pennsylvania, another farmer sold his farm to take a job with his cousin, who was looking for coal oil in Canada. He, too, was searching for wealth… in other places.
According to the county records, the farmer sold his farm for $833.

The new owner found oil… on that same farm. That oil was eventually worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and this discovery became the PENNSYLVANIA OIL FIELDS!

I hope the moral in all of these stories are clear and evident.

Read more On Prospects in our For Impact Guidebook, Gold Diamonds and Oil.

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BIG IDEA: The Master Prospect List (MPL)

The Master Prospect List is one of the biggest ideas in our sales process. It’s a system of:

  • Rating and ranking,
  • Your best and most Qualified Prospects,
  • In descending order of importance.

PRIORITIZATION is the centerpiece of our prospect system: the MPL is not a random group of names nor an alphabetical list!

The MPL ranks ALL of your prospects, not just ‘individuals’.

Rarely, do we see an organization with a TRUE Master Prospect List. This can be a tough concept for some to implement so we’ve made it simple:

  • MASTER = ONE LIST. Not ‘one list for the gala’ and ‘one list for annual fund’ and ‘one list for corporate partnerships.’ And, certainly not fifteen reports from Razor’s Edge.
  • Most Important Prospects. If you receive half your funding from the government then the government is ALWAYS your most important prospect.
  • RANKED. Not Alphabetical. Not by giving history. Not by Relationship Manager. RANKED BY IMPORTANCE.
  • Re: Individuals, Corporations, Foundations – a gift received yesterday does not remove the ranking of the relationship.
  • Smaller organizations should focus on their top 33 prospects. Larger organizations (e.g. Colleges) should maintain the same focus but take the ranking out to 100+ prospects.

In addition, The Master Prospect List:

  • Streamlines prospecting meetings and reporting and allows you to focus your time and energy.
  • Determines what to ask for by matching your prospect list to your funding plan.
  • Saves a lot of time in meetings, thinking, planning, strategy, etc. because the list IS the framework for all these things.
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The Presentation Framework

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Create a simple, powerful PRESENTATION and ENGAGEMENT TOOL.

The are three key components to a great presentation: Engagement, Discovery and Authenticity.

1. ENGAGEMENT

Our goal on the visit is to get people ENGAGED – in a dialogue – about them, about you, and about the opportunity you both have to save, change, and impact lives.

2. DISCOVERY

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY. It is the best way to create ENGAGEMENT and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener:

  • Focus. Actually sit up, and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.
  • Get people to tell their story. This is even better than you sharing the story about impact. Let them tell you why they find meaning in your impact or organization. Nothing you say can trump their ‘WHY.’
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening, and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.

    *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.

For even more, read the article 8 More Steps to Positive Listening Skills!

Then… ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.


3. AUTHENTICITY

We like to tell our Boot Camp attendees, “If you’re authentic, you can’t screw it (the visit, the conversation, the ask) up!”

AUTHENTICITY means being REAL. HONEST. CANDID. SINCERE!

The people you’re with know right away whether you’re ‘selling snake oil’ or SINCERELY PRESENTING AN OPPORTUNITY that has VALUE to both the GIVER and the RECEIVER!

I read 30 years ago (in Denis Waitley’s Seeds of Greatness) that the word SINCERE means “without wax” (in Latin, sine = without, cera = wax.) Ancient sculptors would ‘fix’ any flaws or mistakes that they made in the marble by filling in the mistake with wax.

You can only be you. So go without the wax!

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On Altitude: For Visits and Presentations

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is: Create a simple, powerful PRESENTATION and ENGAGEMENT TOOL.

Here is a deeper explanation of the power of ALTITUDE in designing a presentation or on a visit:

  • Get ‘buy-in’ at the highest level. As you make the Case for Support, the prospect or potential investor needs to understand and acknowledge their acceptance of the VISION and PRIORITIES. Sometimes this is a “You had me at hello” moment. Other times, it may take the entire first visit to get them to understand and agree that this is an important CAUSE and CASE. Regardless, it doesn’t make any sense to talk about PRIORITIES or the PLAN or HOW THEY CAN HELP if they don’t ‘get it’ at the highest level!
  • No Dissent on Descent. There should be no ‘dissent’ on the descent! Think of this as the opposite of getting the ‘bends’. If a diver ascends too quickly, they get a case of the bends. It’s painful and many times life-threatening. During a presentation, the prospect can get the ‘reverse-bends’ if you descend too rapidly, “Hello. Thanks for seeing me. Here’s our campaign. Can you give $100,000?”
  • Always go (back) up. When in doubt ALWAYS GO BACK UP TO 30,000’! The Vision, The Message, The Purpose.
  • ‘Permission to Proceed.’ We have actually incorporated this specific terminology into every presentation. “It seems like you’re fully engaged with both our Mission and our Message. Would it be okay (permission to proceed) to go deeper and talk about our Strategic Priorities and our Plan to make all this happen?”
  • Altitude is not always top-down or hierarchical. You can ‘enter’ at any level. You can focus on any level. You can travel up and down and even side to side when you’re using an Engagement Tool.

 

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The Power of Engagement Tools

Part of our For Impact story has been the invention of THE ENGAGEMENT TOOL. This one-page presentation flow, at altitude, has become an absolutely indispensable part of our client and coaching success.

THE WHY

IF you’re out making VISITS and PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY (which all of you
should be) – you need a SIMPLE, POWERFUL, ENGAGING PRESENTATION TOOL!!!

I can almost guarantee you don’t have one now because an Engagement Tool is not a PowerPoint, Campaign Brochure, 3-Ring Binder, or stuff from “National’s Marketing Department.”

An Engagement Tool is used to Present the Opportunity ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’.

As Tim Allen of Tool Time fame says, “The RIGHT TOOL for the RIGHT JOB.”

GREAT PRESENTATION TOOLS can:

Create a terrific FRAMEWORK for the FLOW of the VISIT,

GRAB PEOPLE’S ATTENTION,

FACILITATE important DIALOGUE,

Create ENGAGEMENT and INTERACTION,

COMMUNICATE STATS & STORIES, LOGIC & MAGIC, and much more!

THE WHAT

We organize our PRESENTATION TOOLS around “these 3 things”:

A NAPKIN

A FLOW SHEET

An ALTITUDE MAP

You can download an EXAMPLE of each one of these here.

THE HOW

Download / view the For Impact engagement tool.

See also: Guidebook – On Engagement | Guidebook – On Visual Engagement

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Creating Great Funding Rationales

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is BUILD YOUR FUNDING RATIONALE.

In this video we cover the ‘Last 3 Feet’ tied to Creating Great Funding Rationales (hint: “Unrestricted” does not make a great Funding Rationale!)

  • Create a Funding Rationale tied to a Unit of Impact if possible – “Our goal is to underwrite all 3000 of our families each year at $1500 per family. How many families can you help support?”
  • Package up your Programs – “Here is the Impact we’d like to have in each community and it will take about $100,000 per community to make it happen.”
  • Use a Leadership Circle membership goal as it relates to the Opportunity to Save, Change and Impact Lives – “When we have 50 members in our Leadership Society (@$10,000+ per year) it allows us to innovate new programs and provide core support to existing impact. It also allows us to move quickly when needed – To save and change more lives.”

Previous video in this sequence: Using Altitude to develop your Presentation.

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10 Types of Funding Rationales

A few weeks ago we published “10 Action Steps to Help you Engage in 2016.” Over the next 10 weeks, we are going to use each action step as a week long theme to help you get it done!

This week’s theme is BUILD YOUR FUNDING RATIONALE.

Here is a list of some of the framing devices we often use to create Funding Rationales. (i.e., you need these numbers to rationalize the ASK!)

In an abridged form:

  • The Gap: Using a gap number to justify the ASK.
    Tuition: Tuition is $6K, cost per student is $8K. Gap is $2K. Could ask someone to underwrite THE GAP for five students.

    Project: Receive federal grants to the tune of $45K/year for $60K/year program. Ask someone to fund the gap for three years = $15K/year or $45K ASK.

  • The Widget: Break down projects/programs/model into a cost per person or cost per unit. Package this as the ASK. Typically, I use the widget to create the simplest and strongest sell.
    “One child for one year.”

    See also: See Chipotle vs. Max and Erma’s

  • Funding the Prototype: This is a different way of funding your annual operating budget for a start-up. Communicate how your model works and what is needed to make the model happen – then run a funding pyramid.

    Example: This year we need $1.1M to build the prototype.

    Going to need:

    1 @ $200K
    2 @ $100K
    3 @ $75K
    4 @ $50K
    6 @ $25K
    10 @ $10K
  • Funding the Vision: Think of this as funding the model/prototype and future projects/priorities for the next 3-5 years. If you will, this is ‘the campaign pitch’ but with a more holistic view of ALL funding priorities. Within Funding the Vision:

    Leadership Commitments: Top tiered commitments that validate the funding plan.

    Momentum Commitments: TIMELY gifts. Could be Leadership or not… but means so much because of the timing. Provides a lot of leverage, energy, etc.

  • TRANSFORMATION: Justifies all caps on that one. Sometimes it’s simply about a number that would completely TRANSFORM our organization, the investor, etc. This is a rationale that extends far beyond a ‘campaign lead’.
  • Project Sponsorship: “Can you underwrite the medical program for three years @ $30K/year?”

    Note: If it were me… get rid of the notion of asking people to fund ‘operating’ or ‘infrastructure’. Literally everything you do can be packaged as a project, priority or program.

  • Angel Investment: “We’re going to need 10 investors at X to get this idea off the ground. We’re taking something of an angel-investment approach. Can you be one of these angels?” – Very much about timing, the level, the funder, etc.
  • Strategic Partner: Often a corporation or foundation that provides ongoing, high-level funding support on an ongoing basis. It’s a great relationship because you [the org] are a means of delivering on the funder’s priorities in the community or sector.
  • Protection: This is a rationale or way of asking someone to ‘protect’ and annual investment with a planned gift/legacy gift. More on that here.
  • Leverage: We need to raise X to generate 10X.

    Note: Yesterday I was on the phone with an organization that needs to raise $5M to generate $1Billion. To make my point. They need to raise $5M to generate $1,000,000,000,000.

    Obviously, you don’t need all of these. I’m hoping the brief descriptions can spark some answers to common questions like:

    “What do we ask for?”

    “How do we package our operating to justify a big ask?”

    “How do we rationalize the number?”

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Affirmation

“The single most important lesson I learned in 25 years, talking every single day to people, was that there’s a common denominator in our human experience:

We want to be validated. We want to be understood.

They all want to know: “Did you hear me? Did you see me?
Did what I said mean anything to you?’”

– Oprah Winfrey

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NCIS. Gibbs Rule 28: ASK

Leroy Jethro Gibbs of NCIS fame* has Rules. Here’s the one he used with Bishop.

“Rule 28: When you need help, ASK.”

Add this one to some of my favorite quotes about Asking:

“Ask and it shall be given.
Seek and you shall find.
Knock and it shall be opened to you.”

– The Bible

“If you don’t ASK, you don’t get.”
– Ghandi

“Just ASK.”
– Suddes

*Your pop culture reference for the day.

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How to run a Sales Meeting using a Sales Dashboard

Reposting this nugget based on several recent coaching calls about ‘Activity vs. Productivity’ and Sales Team FOCUS.

Here is a format we use for Sales Meetings – a weekly review of activities from the Sales Team.

  • Update on activity:
    • Number of visits
    • Number of asks
  • 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 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 no ‘declines.’ We were able to zero in on this and it turned out the staff wasn’t really asking – if you’re asking, you’re going to have some declines! Instead, they were walking through the numbers and ‘hoping’ the prospect would select to give. We did another training session around ‘the last three feet’ of the visit 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 upcoming week
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10 Action Steps to Help You Engage in 2016

*Warning: It’s pretty easy to run down this list and blow off a number of these with a “We’ve already got this/done this” attitude. I encourage you to take a look at the resources we’ve provided below and create an Action Plan for 2016.

Here are 10 Action Steps, to help you ENGAGE:

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Set Your Goals for Engagement!

Set your 2016 Goals for Engagement now! These goals need to be SPECIFIC, WRITTEN and MEASURABLE.

Here are 3 Examples:

  • The ‘33 GIFTS’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our TOP 50 PROSPECTS in order to generate 33 COMMITMENTS, which will provide 90% of our funding needs!

    This will be a SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY.

    E.g. We will generate $1 Million from:

    1 Gift of $200,000
    2 Gifts of $100,000
    4 Gifts of $50,000
    10 Gifts of $20,000
    16 Gifts of $10,000+
    33 Totaling $1 Million

    Note: Need $5M? Multiply the right column by 5. (Or 4 for $4M and so on.)

  •  

  • The ‘Spartan 300’ Plan

    We will ENGAGE with our BEST 300 prospects (including our Top 33), which will generate buckets of money to Fund Our Vision.

    E.g. We have 3 members of our SALES TEAM, and we will collectively make 30 VISITS ENGAGEMENTS a month for 10 months (using August and December for R&R).

    We will use a 3x3x3 goal which challenges us to collectively make 3 visits a day, 3 days a week, 3 weeks out of the month.

    Note: If you have one member of your sales team, divide this goal accordingly: The ‘Spartan 100’ plan!

  •  

  • The ‘1,000 ENGAGEMENT’ Plan

    As a larger For Impact organization with 6 committed Relationship Managers, we will make 1,000 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS this year.

    Each of our 6 Relationship Managers will have a Portfolio of 300 Qualified Prospects. Each of us will make 167 VISITS/PRESENTATIONS (ENGAGEMENTS) this year.

    We will average 15 QUALITY VISITS a month and do all of the appropriate preparation, predisposition and follow-up.

    We will do ‘DISCOVERY’ on every visit and with every prospect. We also commit to make the FULL PRESENTATION around the TRIPLE ASK for TODAY, TOMORROW and FOREVER (Annual Operations, Campaign Priorities and a Legacy/Planned Gift.)

    *20% of these 167 visits will become our TOP 33 gifts for each Relationship Manager.

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Sales Attitude: How to think about December

“Should we plan on doing fewer visits with prospects this month, because of the holidays?”

or

“Should we keep pushing because people give at year’s end?”

We get a lot of questions about this every year and our coaching advice is always the same: Keep working your list.

It’s a great time to be engaging (1:1) with your prospects/relationships:

  • If they can’t meet due to the holidays, you can setup a time to connect in early January. Better to do that now than to come back to the office and call – at which time everyone would say, “I’m just getting re-oriented from the holidays. Get back with me in a few weeks.”
  • In my experience, for every person or family that can’t meet now, there is another for whom there will be no better time to meet. Some of my best visits + asks have been in December.

Whatever you do – don’t make excuses for not making visits.

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The Last Investor

THE LAST INVESTOR: The Metaphor

WHAT IF you were down to your very LAST INVESTOR? (aka ‘DONOR’)

WHAT IF the FATE and FUTURE of your ORGANIZATION and CAUSE were entirely up to that one LAST INVESTOR?

Think about it:

IF you can communicate your IMPACT and MISSION. Convince them of your VISION. INVOLVE THEM in your LEADERSHIP PROCESS.

THEN they will MAXIMIZE their INVESTMENT and bring along OTHERS to COMMIT and INVEST.

HOWEVER, if they don’t ‘GET IT’ – they’re history. They’re gone.

If you can’t communicate your MESSAGE in a clear, concise and compelling fashion, then they will be polite, but still gone.

The proverbial BOTTOM LINE is simple:
 

If you are with THE LAST INVESTOR and
THEY DON’T INVEST
you are ‘OUT OF BUSINESS.’

CHALLENGE: How can you use this metaphor of The Last Investor to CHANGE the way you apply the IMPACT DRIVES INCOME insight and how you approach your best prospects?

Would you send your Last Investor a direct mail piece addressed ‘Dear Occupant?’

Would you call them (in the middle of dinner), ask for money, and then promise to follow-up with a form letter?

Would you ask them to buy a table at your (not) special event?

Would you ask them to be part of your Feasibility Study to find out if you need money?

Would you meet them at their office (or for lunch) rather than try to get them to see what you do and where you deliver your service? (Because it’s easier.)

Would you send them a 60-minute DVD and ask them to watch it? (And enclose a BRE)

You get the point.

Click here to read more including a powerful Parable about The Last Investor.

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What I Would Do If I Had $1M

My copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill was published by Fawcett World Library, 1969.

Based on Napoleon Hill’s famed Laws of Success, Think and Grow Rich represents the distilled wisdom of distinguished men of great wealth and achievement. Andrew Carnegie’s magic formula for success was the direct inspiration for this book. Hill’s “secrets” are founded in universal law and principles.

Originally published in 1937, it has been characterized as one of the most influential books of all time in pointing the way to personal achievement.

W. Clement Stone wrote “more men and women have been motivated to achieve success because of reading Think and Grow Rich than any other book written by a living author.”

Following is a story Napoleon Hill uses to underscore a number of the key principles of Think and Grow Rich:

  • Definiteness of Purpose
  • Faith
  • Imagination
  • Desire
  • Persistence
  • Organized Planning to Achieve a Purpose

The following story is quoted from the book. The (parenthesis) are mine – Tom

While Dr. Frank W. Gunsaulus was going through college, he observed many defects in our educational system. These were defects that he believed he could correct if he were the head of a college. (His challenge!) He made up his mind to organize a new college in which he would carry out his ideas without being handicapped by orthodox methods of education. (Creativity, out of the box thinking, unorthodox!!!)

He needed a million dollars (Specificity) to put this project across. Where was he to lay his hands on so large a sum of money? That was the question that absorbed most of this ambitious young preacher’s thoughts. He turned it over and over in his mind until it became a consuming obsession with him. Dr. Gunsaulus recognized, as do all who succeed in life, that definiteness of purpose is the starting point. He also recognized that definiteness of purpose takes on animation, life, and power when backed by a burning desire to translate that purpose into material equivalent.

In his own words:

“For nearly two years, I had been thinking but I had done nothing but think! The time had come for action!

“I made up my mind then and there that I would get the necessary million dollars within a week. How? I was not concerned about that. The main thing of importance was the decision to get the money within a specific time, a strange feeling of assurance came over me — such as I had never before experienced. Something inside me seemed to say, “Why didn’t you reach that decision a long time ago? The money was waiting for you all the time!”

“Things began to happen in a hurry. I called the newspapers and announced that I would preach a sermon the following morning entitled ‘What I Would Do If I Had a Million Dollars’.

“I went to work on the sermon immediately. But I must tell you frankly, the task was not difficult because I had been preparing this sermon for almost two years.”

“Long before midnight, I finished writing the sermon. I went to bed and slept with a feeling of confidence, for I could see myself already in possession of a million dollars. (Visualization!)

“The next morning I rose early, went into the bathroom, read the sermon, and then knelt and asked that my sermon might come to the attention of someone who would supply the needed money. In my excitement, I walked out without my sermon and did not discover the oversight until I was in my pulpit and ready to begin delivering it.”

“It was too late to go back for my notes, and what a blessing that I couldn’t. Instead, my own subconscious mind yielded the material I needed. When I arose to begin my sermon, I closed my eyes and spoke with all my heart and soul of my dreams. I not only talked to my audience, but I fancied that I also talked to God. I told what I would with a million dollars if that amount were placed in my hands. I described the plan I had in mind for organizing a great educational institution, where young people would learn to do practical things, and at the same time, develop their minds. (The Ask!!!)

“When I finished and sat down, a man slowly arose form his seat about three rows from the rear and made his way toward the pulpit. I wondered what he was going to do. He came into the pulpit, extended his hand, and said, ‘Reverend, I liked your sermon. I believe you can do everything you said you would if you had a million dollars. To prove that I believe in you and your sermon, if you will come to my office tomorrow morning, (The Response!!!) I will give you the million dollars. My name is Philip D. Armour.”

Young Gunsaulus went to Mr. Armour’s office and the million dollars was presented to him. With the money, he founded the Armour Institute of Technology (now known as the Illinois Institute of Technology).

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No More Peer-to-Peer Solicitation

Here’s a simple question: Would Apple or Microsoft or Starbucks (or any other company) ask ‘VOLUNTEERS’ to do their ‘SALES’?

Just the idea of the word ‘SOLICITATION’ (the implication of which I cannot go into in a PG-13 document), should be enough to make you give up on this 1950’s “Peer-To-Peer Solicitation” model!

Instead, a PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION involves PROFESSIONAL STAFF engaged in CONVERSATION and DIALOGUE with a goal of MAXIMIZING THE RELATIONSHIP! It’s a PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE with PROFESSIONAL FOLLOW-UP.

Note: In the Old Model, a typical ‘ask’ by a peer (to a peer) goes “I have your (3 x 5) card. Can you give something? Just send it in.” WOW! Clear. Concise. Compelling. (NOT!)

Here are 7 pretty solid reasons not to use VOLUNTEERS to make SOLO SOLICITATIONS:

  • DESIRE, ENTHUSIASM, PERSISTENCE. How many of your volunteers really, really, really like to ask a friend for money? If presented as such, these volunteers lack key ingredients for sales success: ENTHUSIASM and PERSISTENCE. It is professional staff’s mission and responsibility to Present The Opportunity to Qualified Prospects.
  • TRADING DOLLARS. Every volunteer knows that whenever they ask one of their friends/peers for money, they will soon be asked back for that person’s favorite cause. This system of ‘trading dollars’ certainly does not allow for aggressively MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS. Professional staff are objective, fair and committed to helping their prospective investor feel great about their commitment.
  • TIME. Volunteers basically have none. Their other business priorities and family obligations make it very difficult to fulfill volunteer duties. Professional staff, on the other hand, are focused and dedicated to Presenting The Opportunity to as many Qualified Prospects AS POSSIBLE.
  • ACCOUNTABILITY & FOLLOW-UP. With a volunteer, there isn’t any! “I saw so and so at a party, and I think they might do something.” Even if they make a visit or accompany on a visit, they will not think about following up and assuring their commitment. Professional staff do a memo for the record on every visit. They send a great follow-up letter summarizing the visit and the opportunity. They make a phone call on a specific date to determine the level of commitment and finalize the details with the investor.
  • TRAINING. Most volunteers have not been trained in how to make this kind of presentation. Many don’t understand sales, the sales process, presentation flow and framework. Even for our most incredible champions, very few have the time to become properly knowledgeable about the institution/organization and the investment opportunities available. Professional staff should be well trained. They know as much as they need to know about the organization. They are involved in ongoing professional and personal development. They understand that success is a combination of ATTITUDE and SKILL.
  • PREPARATION. Even with the best of volunteers, asking their assistant for directions on the way out the door is their idea of preparing for the call. Professional staff go over the Knowledge Base Worksheet, Relationship Strategy Checklist, the Visit Checklist, and have a goal for every visit.
  • THE VISIT ITSELF. Most volunteers begin with “How’s your family?” or “How’s your golf game?” Then move to “I got your 3×5 card.” “They want money.” “Do what you can.” When faced with a question, a challenge, or an objection, most volunteers retreat immediately. Great development and For Impact professionals know the Framework and Flow of the visit. They know how to ask questions and listen. They respond to investors’ feelings and react with creativity and flexibility. They deal with challenges and most importantly, they ask!
Special, Special Note: This is not a ‘bash the volunteer‘ list. Rather, it’s an attempt to help you re-think and re-invent the role of your VOLUNTEER LEADERS.

Volunteer Leaders, Board Members and Current Investors are all a huge part of the TEAM SELLING process. GREAT VOLUNTEER LEADERS and GREAT BOARD MEMBERS are literally worth their weight in gold. They should be used before, during and after the VISIT but, they should never be used ALONE!

*Interesting: The word ‘voluntary’ is defined as: ‘organ solo played in church before, during or after a service.’

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Making Things Happen After the Visit (How to Follow-Up)

In case you haven’t noticed we spend quite bit of time helping our For Impact tribe get out of the office – doing more VISITS and making more ASKS.

So what happens AFTER the visit?

When implementing a SALES process and SALES approach to funding, there are three equal parts to every visit/ask: Predispose, Present, Follow up.

These 7 points about Follow Up have a wide application – And can help you immensely in making things happen AFTER the visit:

  • The 24-Hour Rule

    We need to get out our follow-up emails/letters within 24 hours – no matter what. If we wait to write the perfect proposal or pitch, with time, it (1) takes more effort and (2) we lose momentum. I’ll take 80% perfect at 24 hours over 90% perfect in three weeks.
    Speed doesn’t kill… time does.

  • It’s a RELATIONSHIP
    The goal is to maximize the RELATIONSHIP at this given moment. Funding is a function of the relationship – not the world’s best proposal. Think more about communication and follow-up in terms of a relationship and not a transaction – this will help with #1.

  • Re: Referrals – think about ONE ACTION item and a manageable timeline.
    It’s great that prospects are saying they’re going to open doors. Focus on ONE action and make it happen. “We’re all about momentum and everyone is busy. To keep the ball rolling, can we talk about making one phone call in the next two weeks?”

    One action will lead to more. Undefined action leads to no action.

  • “Can you get me a proposal?”
    If someone asks this we need to simplify on the spot – “Sure thing… are you an email person?” (Everyone is.) “Would it be okay if I summarized our conversation in bullet point form and shot that back by email?”

    Save yourself HOURS by converting ‘proposals’ to ‘bullet points.’

  • The ball is always in your court.
    We’re getting a lot of great ‘pending requests.’ If someone says, “give me a few days and I’ll get back to you.” We need to say, “That’s great. If I don’t hear from you by Friday, I’ll follow-up on Monday.”

  • Email is for follow-up notes. Use the phone to make things happen.

  • Be a closer. Always.

    It’s an attitude. Your ability to close translates to lives saved, impacted and transformed. This isn’t about some ‘business jargon’… it’s about real stuff… important stuff. We either believe it or we don’t. And, if we do, then we need to close. If we don’t – let’s quit now.

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Learn by Going

Julia Cameron, one of my favorite writers/authors/thinkers, shares a terrific quote from poet Theodore Roethke that fits perfectly into our focus on ENGAGEMENT!

“I LEARN by going where I have to GO.” – Theodore Roethke

“Where you have to GO” is on VISITS with QUALIFIED PROSPECTS.

P.S. If Roethke is a little existential for you, listen to Brian Tracy, one of the world’s best sales trainers, writers and thinkers, when he summarizes all of sales training into this ‘SIMPLE’ challenge:

“Spend MORE TIME with BETTER PROSPECTS.”

In Suddes-speak: ENGAGE!

*Julia’s THE ARTIST’S WAY is one of my favorite books and favorite gifts – Pick it up if you haven’t read!

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1x 10x 50x

If a Qualified Prospect is giving you $50 (let’s call this ‘1x’) in response to a mail campaign, any sort of an event or even ‘totally unsolicited’ then he or she would likely give 10x in response to a one-on-one, personal visit. And 50x if the visit includes a dialogue around the funding plan and an ask.

This is not scientific, but far from arbitrary, as way of thinking about:

  • The potential of your existing relationships (if we visit!), and,
  • Why we need to be doing more visits!

We often hear “we need more prospects” but often find that existing relationships are not being maximized and in some cases, not even being spoken to! Think about this:

  • 1x is clearly emotional. I’ve seen a lot of people cry at events, but the giving is still impersonal and ‘charitable’ in nature.
  • Sitting with someone one-one-one (or 2-1) allows you to listen and respond. It makes the ask personal and seems to trigger another level of discernment in giving – increasing a commitment to an organization ten fold (10x).
  • To get the big, big gifts (50x) we need to walk our Qualified Prospects through a funding plan and have a dialogue around the ask. These conversations are much more strategic.

I often share a story of a school that threw a large gala where they asked everyone to “prayerfully consider giving at a level that was significant.” The school was frustrated – They had a $1M prospect giving $10K and $100K prospects giving $2K.

As much as the prospects liked the school they had no context for how much money to consider. They had no way of guessing that $1M might be the linchpin for the campaign and there was no discussion that gave the committed families and supporters a framework to think bigger.

To put it simply, in this case and many others, you need to tell them what to pray for!

This school went back to each supporter with a complete funding plan. The $1M dollar ask, for example, was a discussion around WHY they needed $1M and what it would enable the school to do (students/faculty/campus, leverage, leadership, timing, etc). The prospects had context in which to consider the ask and many of them increased their gifts by five times and some by 20 or 30 times!

I’ve met with billionaires and many, many millionaires. Trust me, nobody has disposable income. Nobody is going to guess that a $1Million will help. $10K or $50K is a lot to anyone! It’s not until we show up that we can get 10X. It’s not until we dialogue about 50X that we can get 50X. (Read more about The Bystander Effect and Philanthropy here.)

In closing, consider asking yourself a few questions: Is it easier for you to visit with every current funder and ASK (10X) or to get ten new prospects to give? From there, is it easier to get your best prospects to 50X or to get 5-10 more visits?

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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.

This specific story has been debated since, but the point still stands. Take CPR Training for example – 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 – it stands to reason that it would go the same way for philanthropy.

Apply this 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 and JUST ASK, the responsibility cannot become diffused. When you make a specific request, face-to-face, the action is increased ten-fold (at least).

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

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The Ball Is Always In Your Court

Want a great way to CLOSE MORE GIFTS? FOLLOW UP!

Just last week we had all of our coaches together for a few days at Eagle Creek and we spent several hours on FOLLOW-UP.

In the For Impact world, there are three parts of a great ASK:

PREDISPOSITION → PRESENTATION → FOLLOW-UP

Many times the third piece is either completely dropped or mostly an afterthought, “I met with them. I’ll wait for them to get back with me.” UGH! This could be the worst mistake of any VISIT/ASK.

Going through the effort to Get a Visit… Share the Story… Present the Opportunity… and then NOT following up is not only wrong – it’s disrespectful! When it comes to Follow-Up, the ball is always in your court.

I believe FOLLOW-UP needs to be given as much (if not more) attention than the first two parts of an ask. At the very least, these are three equal parts. I don’t have exact numbers, but I can confidently say that most of my asks are CLOSED in the third act.

There is nothing worse than having an ask pend into oblivion. Use the FOLLOW-UP to maintain control of the relationship:

“Could I check in with you next Friday?”
“Can we talk after your visit with your financial planner?”
“We have a Board Meeting in two weeks and I would love to be able to share your commitment with the Board.”

*It’s probably impossible to misquote or butcher one of Yogi Berra’s malapropisms, but here goes:

“Half of the game is presentation. The other 90% is follow-up.”

A quick nugget on Follow Up: Practice the 36-HOUR RULE.

Complete all follow-up (with your organization, with your prospect and with yourself) within 36 hours of the visit. 80% well done follow up (in 36 hours) beats 90% – 100% perfect (in 3 weeks). The more time elapsed, the less you remember and the less they feel!

Read, download, print or share more great nuggets from Tom’s Guidebook: On Follow Up
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What Does ‘An Ask’ Look Like? A Checklist.

In the For Impact world A REAL ASK satisfies this checklist:

  • We were WITH a prospect – physically.

    See Just Visit. There are exceptions to this but 19 times out of 20 the ask is done in person so that there is engagement and dialogue.

  • We asked the prospect for specific help with a specific project, program or level of support.

    In doing so the dollar figure was clear. Example: “John, we need your help, would it be possible for you to underwrite this project for $20,000?”

    It wasn’t open-ended, we didn’t ask, “Could you give whatever you can give?”

    Also, in being specific, the funding rationale wasn’t for ‘unrestricted’ or ‘operations’… those aren’t specific (see: Have a Funding Rationale)

  • The ask was a dialogue – a back and forth with questions and listening — so that we could ensure that we were maximizing the relationship at this given moment.

    Read: The Ask as a Dialogue to help with this concept.

  • We will expect a YES or a NO – and will follow-up accordingly.

    Thinking about how to get to a YES or NO ensures you have covered appropriate mechanics and you can continue within a sales process. Otherwise, there is a risk of pending into oblivion or unclear follow-up.

Without the definition provided by this checklist we often find:

  • A visit is scored as an ask.
  • There is no real ask – but rather a suggestion that it would be great to have the prospect’s help.
  • Some psychological shift whereby the salesperson only asks AFTER the prospect says he or she would like to make a gift. That’s not an ask. The relationship certainly wasn’t maximized and it’s an incredibly low return-on-energy methodology.
  • The salesperson raises money without asking. This is similar to point above. To be clear, just showing up DOES yield funding – this is our point behind JUST VISIT!

    But, in terms of measurement this is harder to spot (and therefore coach around), and usually shows up because a sales person will report the following:

    • 25 visits
    • 20 asks
    • 3 commits
    • 0 declines

    If you follow this ask checklist, you SHOULD get a ‘no’ from time-to-time.

  • There was a request for help, but there was no funding rationale or dialogue. We see this with a lot of organizations that ARE raising money. They’re out visiting, they’re asking the prospect to help but they’re not maximizing the relationship. (Not the worst problem in the world – but usually leaving tons of money on the table).

Some reminders:

  • We’re pushing for everyone to be more assertive. That doesn’t mean you always have to ask for funding on the first visit. There are certainly many times where it’s a discovery or predisposition visit (but never 4-5 ‘cultivation’ visits before we ask).
  • Kerry was with a client last week and they visited with a high capacity prospect for a first time discovery visit. There was no ask, however Kerry did ask for permission to make the ask. She closed the visit by saying to the prospect, “Today we wanted to share the vision and see if we could get you on board with our story. As we move along would it be okay to talk to you about supporting that vision?”
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Ask…Listen…Ask…Listen

In our trainings (see link below for upcoming engagements), we do a card trick to demonstrate the greatest sales tip ever:

ASK a question… LISTEN to the answer… ASK another question (based on the previous response)… LISTEN to the answer.

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY, the best way to create ENGAGEMENT, and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener:

  • Get people to tell their story. Most people love to talk about themselves and share their stories with you. This is a perfect fit with out IMPACT –> INCOME | SHARE THE STORY –> PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. (It’s not just you who should share the story… but they should also share their story with you.)
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening, and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.
    *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.
  • Totally focus. Actually sit up and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.

Download our For Impact Guide to Power Questions and Transition Questions. Then:

ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.
Note: Read the article ‘Are You Listening?’ in Selling Power for 8 more positive listening skills, and another FI blog on Asking the Right Types of Questions.

To see the card trick live, come to our Boot Camp!

Tuesday, April 28 – Wednesday, April 29 2015
Ostrander, OH
Wednesday, June 17 – Thursday, June 18, 2015
Ostrander, OH
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The Clueless Close

Of all the closes we cover, the Clueless Close has resulted in more gifts for our coaching and
training alumni than all the other closes combined.

It represents the EASIEST way to ask, especially if you have no idea what to ask for or you have some fear and need a go-to line to make the close.

Use the Clueless Close for visits where:

  • You have great timing, but your lack of information lowers confidence; or
  • You have a qualified prospect on a first visit.
In its simplest form, the Clueless Close is one question:

Where do you see yourself?

One great way to do this is with an engagement tool that includes a funding plan or
traditional campaign pyramid (examples below).

Goal: 500 Families @ $1000/Family
1 @ 100 Families
2 @ 50 Families
4 @ 25 Families
10@ 10 Families
20 @ 5 Families

Hospice House: $5.0M
1 @ $1M
2 @ $500K
4 @ $250K
10 @ $100K
20 @ $50K

Example 1:

After you’ve walked through the vision and funding priorities, you come to the
funding plan and ask:

Based on everything we’ve talked about, I would love to ask you about being part of this plan. Mrs. X, I’m not really sure where to go. I don’t know much about your capacity but you’ve indicated you would ‘like to make a really big difference’.

We have several funders on board with us [checking off – with a pen – committed gifts]. I
would like to go this route and ask you, where do you see yourself?

(You can let the prospect think about it and respond. As with any question, it’s critical that
you LISTEN to the answer and PROCESS the response.)

The prospect responded by saying “I think I could only do this [pointing to $50,000] this year.” Key words: THIS. YEAR.

Important note: Obviously you can’t use the Clueless Close when you’re with your top prospects. If you know you NEED to ask for $1M or you NEED to ask for project funding (tied to a specific number) you can’t afford to be clueless. Use the Clueless Close with first time funders when your funding plan is not dependent upon a specific commitment.
Be prepared for the answer.

Example 2:

On a different visit for the project, I tried to ask the same question, but that prospect started laughing before I even finished. “Nick, I’m not on your chart.”

I paused and said: Could you tell me more about what that means?

He responded, “My wife and I are committed to seven big projects right now.”

Key Words: RIGHT. NOW. These are big community philanthropists in the middle of some huge funding commitments. He was telling me that though he loved our project, it couldn’t be one of his top projects right now.

At the end of that visit, he committed to $10K. The goal of every visit is to maximize the relationship at this given moment. In this case, there was a lot of potential for the future as he and his wife finished up with other projects, and I now had more information about capacity than I had before.

The Takeaway: The Clueless Close is a great way to ask when you don’t know what to ask for. And you will no longer be ‘clueless’ after this close.

Click here to download audio on on the Clueless Close + 19 more Closes.

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The Presentation Framework

The are three key components to a great presentation: Engagement, Discovery and Authenticity.

1. ENGAGEMENT

The ‘green’ ENGAGEMENT word is there to remind all of us that our goal on the visit is to get people ENGAGED – in a dialogue, about them, about you, and about the opportunity you both have to save, change, and impact lives.

2. DISCOVERY

Asking questions is the best way to do DISCOVERY. It is the best way to create ENGAGEMENT and an absolutely marvelous way to be able to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!

Here are 3 quick tips on how to be a great listener:

  • Focus. Actually sit up, and engage with your eyes and ears as you focus on exactly what the prospect is saying.
  • Get people to tell their story. This is even better than you sharing the story about impact. Let them tell you why they find meaning in your impact or organization. Nothing you say can trump their ‘WHY.’
  • Take notes. In my mind, this is a great way to show respect, show that you’re listening, and show that you care. The best thing about notes for me is that it helps me focus on listening, and then when the prospect is finished I can refer back to the notes and quotes.

    *It’s also a great way to capture as much of the visit as you can for the Memo for the Record, which, of course, you are going to complete as soon after the call as possible.

For even more, read the article 8 More Steps to Positive Listening Skills!

Then… ASK… LISTEN… ASK… LISTEN.

3. AUTHENTICITY

We like to tell our Boot Camp attendees, “If you’re authentic, you can’t screw it (the visit, the conversation, the ask) up!”

AUTHENTICITY means being REAL. HONEST. CANDID.

Simply put, it’s being SINCERE!

The people you’re with know right away whether you’re ‘selling snake oil’ or SINCERELY PRESENTING AN OPPORTUNITY that has VALUE to both the GIVER and the RECEIVER!

I read 30 years ago (in Denis Waitley’s Seeds of Greatness) that the word SINCERE means “without wax” (in Latin, sine = without, cera = wax). Ancient sculptors would ‘fix’ any flaws or mistakes that they made in the marble by filling in the mistake with wax.

You can only be you. So go without the wax!

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Maximize Relationships at This Given Moment

STOP CULTIVATING.

This is one of my favorite ‘soap box’ platforms. As a gardener and faux-farmer, I know ‘cultivation’ is when you spread manure on plants!

Think about it from the other side for a second. No one wants to be CULTIVATED.

They either get your Message and Impact or they don’t. They want to support your Cause and your Case or they don’t. Your Qualified Prospects/Investors truly do want to help, but they don’t want to have a multitude of meetings before they’re even told what it is that you actually WANT from them.

START MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS … AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

Many of you are waiting for the ‘perfect time’ to make your ‘BIG’ request. The ‘perfect time’ to MAXIMIZE a RELATIONSHIP is always NOW… AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

MAXIMIZING RELATIONSHIPS could be an invitation to join a Leadership Group, President’s Circle, Impact Circle, etc. It could be Presenting an Opportunity to Leave a Legacy Gift. Or, it may be ‘THE’ moment … for ‘THE’ Gift … that truly TRANSFORMS your organization.

Remember: You’re in SALES. Get over it. Go ‘sell’ your Vision, your Ideas, your Priorities, Projects and Programs. Now.

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2:1 Rule for Deliberate Dialogue

I was recently coaching a brilliant scientist. She is world-renowned for her research and was having no problem getting visits. I joined her on a visit.

Despite our plan, she spoke for 20 solid minutes before giving the prospect a chance to engage in some form of dialogue.

Everything she said was good. The only challenge is that it was shutting out the other person. We were – most certainly – skipping right past a host of connections.

On every visit, the prospects were wow’d but not maximized.

To change this, we started to focus on the practice of creating DELIBERATE DIALOGUE.

Deliberate dialogue is the act of intentionally
stopping to create dialogue.

For my scientist friend, we had to be even more specific. The coaching was this:

For every two minutes of ‘presenting’, you should STOP and ask a quick question.

We called this the 2:1 RULE using DELIBERATE DIALOGUE.

This is about INTENTIONALITY!!!

Some people do this very effectively:

I’ve been talking for a few minutes so I want to stop and then see if this is making sense.

Or simply: Does this make sense?

Or, you can set it up: I will talk for a few minutes and pause to see if we’re tracking.

It doesn’t have to be scripted. Most of the time the ‘talker’ just needs to stop long enough for the other person to jump in.

If you’re struggling to ENGAGE with someone else, or
If YOU end up doing all the talking,
be DELIBERATE in creating dialogue.

The benefits are numerous:

  • If you’ve lost them, then it’s not by much.
  • If there is an on-ramp for the other person, it lets him or her catch it.
  • You can listen when the other person is talking.
  • When we talk, we become fully engaged. (So let the other person talk.)
  • Feedback. Simple.

For the scientist, it was a game-changer.

Note: We’re in the midst of 33 days of our ‘best of’ For Impact Ideas on a Napkin. Check the blog daily for some great reminders.

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Just Ask

Just Ask is the ACTION part of the For Impact Point of View.

Through The Suddes Group, we’ve raised a $1B. A big reason for this – WE ASKED.

 

 

This napkin has just two words. Please note that it does not say:

Ask…
…when timing is perfect.

…when you know exactly what to ask for.

…after you’ve visited with the prospect nine times.

…when you’re entire board is on board.

…when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.

…when you have the perfect message.

…when you have the perfect materials.

It says, Just Ask!

Timing will never be perfect.

The only way you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).

Cultivation is for people who can’t communicate. You are in the business of saving, changing, and impacting lives; if you’re with someone who wants to do just that, you can ask on the first visit.

I still feel like I want to puke before a big ask.

The only way to truly test a message is to ask.

You don’t need perfect materials – You need a tool to help you engage in a conversation.

Just Ask is all about action.

It’s permission to move. Nothing happens until you ask!

Until you ask, (one-on-one) the message is not personal.

Until you ask, people don’t know how they can help.

Until you ask, the prospect doesn’t guide you through what else is needed (from the you, from the org or from the plan) to make a commitment.

Until you ask, a prospect can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.
This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.
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