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For Impact | The Suddes Group

Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Definition of Success


I’m not a big Huffington Post reader.  However, Arianna Huffington came out with her latest book, THRIVE: THE THIRD METRIC FOR REDEFINING SUCCESS AND CREATING A LIFE OF WELL-BEING, WISDOM AND WONDER.

A recent column by Cal Thomas reviewed her book and mentioned that she had re-thought the meaning of a good life and found it to be something quite different than how it is portrayed by pop culture.

“The pursuit of money and power (she writes) didn’t satisfy after she acquired a considerable amount of each.”  

“There are still millions desperately looking for the next promotion, the next million-dollar payday that they believe will satisfy their longing to feel better about themselves, or silence their dissatisfaction.”

Thomas shared one sentence that reinforced so much of my own thinking on success, wealth, etc.

“Have you noticed that when we die, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success?”


Here’s my thoughts on the DEFINITION OF SUCCESS from 25 Wishes.


The One Question You Need to Ask Yourself

Read a great article form Inc. over the weekend.

The One Question You Need to Ask Yourself by Lauren Leader-Chivee (advocate, speaker and thought leader on women’s issues and founding partner at Hewlett Chivée Partners).

The one question you need to ask yourself: 


Wow, talk about great support for our driving mantra of BE FOR IMPACT!  Lauren says she was blessed to know an extraordinary entrepreneur and leader named Maynard Webb Jr.  Webb is an investor, former top tech executive, thought leader and chairman of Yahoo’s board of directors, as well as on the boards at Visa and

Lauren says that during a mentoring session where she was “rattling off a litany of business ideas, job options, challenges and questions … and sharing struggles with fundraising, networking and brand and reputation building” … he listened and stopped her cold and asked the one critical question:


Pretty darn good question.


Shift in Emphasis

I was reading a commentary by E. J. Dion titled the The Pope’s New Path is Hard to Ignore.

‘Religion’ aside, I find it really fascinating that the new Pope has changed the entire conversation of the Church by re-focusing on the ‘good‘ that it can do with the poor, the underserved, youth, etc. … rather than on issues related to abortion, gay marriage, etc.

As Dion points out, “(The Pope) has not altered Church doctrine, but his shifting emphasis has been breathtaking.”

Think about what this means as you decide what STORY you are telling or what MESSAGE you are framing.

Shift your emphasis for greater results.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

For all the Irish by birth or in spirit … HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!



Professional, Written Follow-Up

As always, VOCABULARY is critical for clarity and execution.

Big, big, big part of FOLLOW-UP are the actual call notes/visit notes/note to self.

Write it (for yourself).
File it (for posterity).
Share it (for support).

In our world, the action (vocabulary) is simple:

    • This is internal (only). It’s meant for the internal team.
    • Can be in shorthand, organization jargon/team vocabulary, etc.
    • Can be posted somewhere (again) internally.  (For TSG, it’s HighRise).
    • Or, could simply be shared with selected group on team or project.
    • Meant to be shared both internally and externally.
    • Should be able to be shared with Senior Leadership, Natural Partners and certainly attached to the Prospect’s ‘Record’/database.
    • A simple outline could include:
      • An Overview/Summary
      • Discovery/What We Learned
      • Flow of the Visit
      • Specific Quotes from the Prospect
      • Action Steps

Note: This was a big topic of our ‘HANGOUT’ last Friday for The Suddes Group Team.  Thought I’d share the vocabulary and differences between a Call Report and a Memo for the Record.

Special Note:  Here is a great Guide on Follow-Up for you to download.

As a reminder, here are the three parts to the follow-up. (more…)

We’re looking for a Visual Communicator/Design Thinker … who wants to Change the World.

For Impact readers: We’re using our ideal-profile approach to help find design talent.

I would love nothing more than to find someone within our own community.  Thanks for reading and sharing this.

– Nick


Who do you know who has these three things?

  1. Insane graphic-design talent. (This person’s doodles belong in the Smithsonian.)
  2. A super-hero-like power to simplify complex ideas. (The person could summarize the bible on the back of a business card with a few sketches.)
  3. An infectious JOY for making a difference in the lives of others.

What is visual communication to us?

Think master of whitespace, symbols, icons and infographics… a typography, simplicity, wizard. (Less: Branding, Marketing, Retail.)

What is design thinking? This is where creativity and motivation are brought to bear on a ‘problem’, and the ‘solution’ is replicable and scalable. (If you know who Roger Martin, John Maeda and John Medina are [without Google] … we will interview you immediately.)

Can you help us find this person? He or she is critical to helping us scale our impact. He or she is critical to helping us package and share the lessons we’ve learned from working with 5000 organizations around the world and raising over $2 Billion for causes that range from freeing child soldiers to ending homelessness to advancing treatments for cancer.

We (For Impact | The Suddes Group) are a small social enterprise that does amazing work working directly with and for the top social entrepreneurs and philanthropists on the planet.

We are also a Design firm where we help with:

  • Business Models
  • Sales Strategies
  • 1,000-Day Action Plans
  • Engagement Tools
  • Experiences
  • Teams
  • Boards and more

There are over 1.8 Million ‘nonprofits’ in the US alone; we need someone with the talent, smarts and commitment to help us SCALE OUR IMPACT … to offer to global-change agents the encouragement, motivation, resources — in print — when where we can’t be in person.

Some more details:

  • Location: Columbus, OH
  • Travel: Occasional – we have offices in Colorado Springs, San Diego and Dublin, Ireland.
  • Examples: Types of things we need help with.
  • Experience: Not as important as talent and attitude.
  • Team player: A given. We function like a S.E.A.L. team. Except, instead of being a demolition expert this person will have a different tool set.
  • Status: Looking for talent. Would like to test a project (to see how this person fits on the team) and then dive in full-time with great benefits including health and lifestyle – work from anywhere and unlimited vacation days. (We’re all so motivated to do what we do that ‘work’ is never the issue.)

Referral bonus: Everlasting good karma.

Three Reasons Why You Should Probably Ask!

Thanks to Dan Kirsch at the Grinspoon Foundation for turning me on to  Here is the blog/article by Steve Martin, co-author and presenter at INFLUENCE AT WORKThree Reasons Why You Should Probably Ask!

Reason #1:  People are more likely say ‘yes’ than you think.  Love that Martin cites actual studies.  My experience is more anecdotal than scientific … yet backed up by over 6,000 visits/presentations … and thousands and thousands and thousands of ASKS in my life.

***JUST ASK is a life principle, not just a sales or business mantra.

In my world, most people actually want to say ‘yes‘ to a legitimate, fair and rational request.

Reason #2:  Asking doesn’t weaken your power, it boosts it.

At The Suddes Group, we have an internal mantra of ACT or ASK.  If you know what needs to be done, do it.  If you’re not sure or need help or want someone else’s counsel …  ASK.

***Again, not just sales.  “I’ve had a long couple of days.  Could you upgrade my room?”  “I know my son’s tuition is due.  Would it be possible to spread that over six months instead of one payment?”  “Since this is a trip around the world in 23 days, including 9 all-night flights or trains, could we make all the reservations in business class/first class?”

BTW, the answer to all three of these questions was “YES“.

Reason #3. You’ll actually feel better if you ask.  Martin makes a great point about the difference between rejection and regret.  Personally, I much prefer ‘rejection’ (or, better put, someone simply saying no to the request) … than to look back for weeks, months or years, with regret, wondering what would have happened if I had only asked.  


Special, Special, Special Note to All Leaders in the For Impact World.


We are doing a ton of work right now in healthcare and with healthcare foundations.

We spend a lot of time talking about about goals, increasing philanthropic revenue, staffing, major gifts vs.  special events and much more.

The proverbial lightbulb went off when we started talking about ROI!

Return-On-Investment is a ridiculously simple concept for an advancement/development operation.  It is especially relevant for a hospital foundation.

What is our ROI?

  • At 1X right now, it’s no wonder the hospital CEO won’t take our calls.
  • AT 2X, we’re generating revenue for the hospital, but our cost of fundraising is 50%!
  • At 3X, we become part of the conversation at the proverbial table.
  • At 5X (20% cost of fundraising), we are a integral and critical part of the business model.

There are two simple ways to dramatically change ROIReduce the denominator (cut expenses) and increase the numerator (raise more money).

The ROI conversation allows for a much more meaningful discussion about expenses, people, slots, what should be a foundation expense and what should be a hospital expense, etc.

Increasing philanthropic revenue is a function of ‘major gifts’, visits and presentations.

Then, the key to ROI is simple:


The Simple Science to Good Storytelling

If you are a daily/weekly ‘user’ … this may feel repetitive.  Bear with me.

I can state unequivocally that rarely a day goes by without some reference/focus/coaching around the Power of STORY.

Here is a short ‘story’ on ‘story’ from Fast Company and Harvey Deutschendorf (speaker and author).  The Simple Story of Science to Good Storytelling:  Listening to a compelling story activates different parts of the brain, and luckily putting together a good tale isn’t always that difficult.

He reminds us that stories were the first and only way to actually share information, dreams, to entertain, inspire and to connect.  His five big points:

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Always keep the audience in mind.
  3. Use as an opportunity to share something of yourself.
  4. Don’t take  yourself too seriously.
  5. Share some sincerely felt emotions.

I believe much of those five points can be captured in a word:  AUTHENTICITY.

We are working with one of the largest healthcare systems in the country.  Their ‘STORYLINE’ is captured in their original ‘Tagline’:  THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION.   A LEGACY OF CARE.  The original ‘FOUNDING’ story by a group of religious sisters is so compelling that it leads into everything that they are trying to do TODAY. (more…)

The Delimma of Coaching Yourself

I’m always looking for good content to aggregate for the For Impact tribe.

Here’s a really great article from 99u (Insights on Making Ideas Happen) titled The Future of Self-Improvement: The Dilemma of Coaching Yourself. Author and researcher, Joshua Foer, talks about the ‘OK Plateau’ where we gained enough skill for our needs … and then stop pushing ourselves.

He identified these four principles that he saw experts (masters in my words) use to keep learning:

  1. Experts tend to operate outside their comfort zone and study themselves failing.
  2. Experts will try to walk in the shoes of someone who’s more competent than them.
  3. Experts crave and thrive on immediate and constant feedback.
  4. Experts treat what they do like a science. They collect data, they analyze data, they create theories, and they test them.

Read about Bill Bradley and his unparalleled work ethic and practice schedule!!!

Then, read and re-read the notes from Atul Gawande, a best-selling author and highly accomplished surgeon, as he talks about the struggle with self-improvement if you already feel like you’re at the top of your game.

Spoiler Alert: Gawande makes an exceptionally strong case for OUTSIDE COACHING/EXTERNAL COACH who can help make the Quantum Leap to mastery.

Every top athlete and top sports performer (think Olympics, golf, tennis, etc.) has an EXTERNAL COACH that pushes, cajoles, challenges, observes, provides feedback and much more.

Who is your EXTERNAL COACH???

Or, are you happy at the ‘OK Plateau’?

“Championships Are Won on the Bus.”

“One of the great players in the NBA told me that championships are not won on the court.  They are won on the BUS.” 

Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO

What a great follow-up to Jim Collins’ BUS analogy.  (On.  Off.  Right Seats.)

Championships are won on the ‘BUS’.  Team chemistry.  Working together.  Even dreaded ‘team building’.  (Which, by the way, does not have to be an artificial exercise using three sticks, four leafs and some moss … to build a boat that will hold three people.)

The idea of team-bonding (on the Bus) certainly makes for more productivity, and more fun.

Note:  Our top BUS guy is our Senior Partner Steve Elder.  Team Leader/Sales Manager/Uber Coach who totally gets the whole BUS/TALENT thing.  I remember Steve telling me once that the ideal team for a project would fit in a minivan.  I think his point was if your project has more than 6-8 people … probably doomed from start.