We’re really proud of the team at the UI. They now provide accelerator and support programs to Social Entrepreneurs in over 30 countries!!! Since the institute’s inception, we’ve provided pro-bono mentorship and coaching to these entrepreneurs.
We think of Unreasonable Institute as a platform that finds, attracts and supports the most promising Social Entrepreneurs on the planet – they are GREAT at this.
For our part, we benefit from proximity and relationship with entrepreneurs all over the world – working on some of the most complex problems ranging from clean water, to climate change, to housing, to health (access). In terms of impact, we view this as a huge leverage point. We get to be with these entrepreneurs as they BEGIN their journey (toward scale).
The Future Cities Accelerator:
Kerry and I are preparing to leading a two-day Boot Camp around Storytelling and Sales at the Future Cities Accelerator. This is a new Unreasonable Institute concept developed in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation to find, support, and scale ten game-changing ventures supporting poor and vulnerable populations in the US. As we prepare to spend time with these entrepreneurs, here are some key refrains we will share:
We become what we think about.
In addition to the global power of this insight, we caution social entrepreneurs from getting too caught up in messaging ‘earned-income revenue’ or ‘biz model’. These are HUGELY important, but entrepreneurs can get distracted as they make their way through awards circles, fellowships, and conferences. They seem to be sucked into a world that debates the how at expense of story about the why and the what.
Eyes on the prize. And the prize is the impact.
There are no rules.
(Assuming ethical and legal baseline, but beyond that, there are no rules.) Everything we share in terms of our frameworks are simply constructs that we’ve made up (and tested A LOT). Don’t ever think there is some magic fundraising (or entrepreneurship) secret that you don’t know. There isn’t.
We are taught to present, not to engage.
Simply ask yourself before every pitch, or sale, “What would ENGAGEMENT look like in this situation?” Use more visuals. Be simple. Ask questions. (Despite the fact that every entrepreneur is going to have you make a pitch deck – outside of silicon valley, boulder and wall street – nobody uses a pitch deck.)
Think Big. Build Simple. Act Now.
We don’t believe that ‘Changing the World’ has to be cliché. ‘Changing the World’ is the epitome of THINK BIG! And it’s only cliché if you can’t follow-up with how you’re going to do it – SIMPLY and IMMEDIATELY.
Entrepreneurs will complete the boot camp next week after which our team will provide coaching and support for nine months. I hope to be able to share some great stories about innovation and promise for impacting our most vulnerable populations.
At For Impact | The Suddes Group we are committed to developing social entrepreneurs and emerging social leaders. For most of our work in this area, we partner with The Unreasonable Institutewhere we have been ‘Unreasonable Mentors’ to social entrepreneurs from all over the world for the past six years.
Unreasonable teamed up with the Rockefeller Foundation and together they’re launching The Future Cities Accelerator. This project exists to solve the challenges faced by poor or vulnerable populations living in U.S. cities.
We’re proud to play a big part in this project where 10 early stage ventures will be selected to take part in the the 5-day accelerator and receive $100K in grant funding. After the accelerator, The Suddes Group will provide 9 months of fundraising mentorship and assistance to make sure you have the resources to solve these challenges.
From the archives, but still relevant today – Read on for Tom’s thoughts on hiring.
Read a really terrific book called REWORK by the founders of 37 Signals. As are almost all of the books I really, really love, this is simply a collection of nuggets, loosely framed.
Three of the twelve nuggets from the chapter on HIRING really jumped out at me.
1. Hire when it hurts.“Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain.” I can’t tell you how many organizations I’ve been around that desperately want to hire a ‘Major Gift Officer‘ or more ‘Major Gift Officers’!
Nobody has prioritized their top prospects (Master Prospect List). Nobody in the organization has visited with their Top 10 or Top 20 or Top 33. There’s no Message, no Math, no Model.
Yet, we think hiring another development person/MGO is going to make some kind of difference. (more…)
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.)
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.
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.
CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY! WORDS ARE IMPORTANT! Stop using all the typical ‘nonprofit’ industry jargon. Start using ‘sales’ terms, ‘business’ terms, ‘common sense’ terms.
CHANGE (THE) RULES! Thisis 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.
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!)
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.
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!
JUST ASK. JUST ASK. JUST ASK. No explanation necessary. Just do it.
Talent is a critical element for any successful team and finding the right talent is one of the top challenges facing organizations. For Impact Talent works with our clients and alumni to find and train the right talent — to lead, sell or support around a true sales model and For Impact Point of View. Periodically, we will be sharing Talent Postings with our readership.
We’re currently working with The Hunger Project to find their next U.S. Fundraising Leader, based in NYC, and are sharing this with our network to help find candidates who are passionate about sustainable international development solutions – and eager to engage a whole new group of investors to help end world hunger by 2030.
The Hunger Project is committed to the end of world hunger by 2030 – and focus their contribution in this effort on empowering communities and individuals to drive the solutions that work for them, and by partnering with like-minded groups. The Hunger Project takes a comprehensive approach – working with communities to focus on activities that will have a lasting impact on their well-being and potential.
In order to achieve this visionary – yet achievable – goal, we must significantly increase the investments made in The Hunger Project. In the United States, the biggest priority for the new US Fundraising Leader is to transform annual fundraising revenue from a static $6M to $10M and beyond over the next few years, by generating results personally and by empowering their team to succeed.
This position is meant for the leader who wants to apply their deeply relational skills and experience toward the realization of this brighter future.
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 …”
“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!)
‘SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE’
High Cost of Living
Make A Difference
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! Aska 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!
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!
A critical position on a Sales Team is the Sales Leader.
IF you are committed to a Sales Team then you should identify the Sales Leader – the person who fulfills these duties:
The ultimate PLAYER/COACH: This person has the street cred and is usually the organization’s BEST sales person. This person has also accepted the role of COACH to the team.
Has ultimate ACCOUNTABILITY: This person is 1) accountable for the Sales Team results, and 2) the person to whom each Salesperson is ultimately accountable.
There are also cases in which the Sales Leader can use others to support this function. Example, let’s say your team has ten Salespeople – they can report to a deputy but ULTIMATELY report to the Sales Leader.
The ultimate PLAY CALLER (or referee): If three Sales Team members want different changes to the engagement tool (for instance) the Sales Leader is empowered to LEAD and make-the-call, end-the-dispute, or unite-the-team around a clear decision.
Just having this vocabulary has been powerfully clarifying for organizational leadership responsible for building Sales-Driven Funding Operations.
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get in the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.” – Henry Ford
I’ve trained over 1,000 development professionals and leaders. One thing I’ve observed – those that perform at the highest levels always have a high degree of empathy. Yet, in no instances that I can recall, have I seen a search committee or hiring manager put a premium on this skill that Henry Ford called the ‘one secret of success.’