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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

The Return on Investment, Energy and Relationships


Here are some thoughts on this concept of RETURN… RETURN ON INVESTMENT… RETURN ON ENERGY… RETURN ON RELATIONSHIPS…

If you’ve been following the For Impact MESSAGE in any way, you should be familiar with the VOCABULARY CHANGE of ‘donor’ and ‘donation’ to ‘investor’ and ‘investment.’

And, obviously, you would know what every INVESTOR wants from their investment: A RETURN!

And, as a For Impact Leader or Social Entrepreneur, you know that you can DELIVER on that RETURN.

There is another ‘RETURN’ that Nick and I use quite often that seems to really grab people’s attention: RETURN ON ENERGY.

This particular nugget should be pretty self-explanatory. What (exactly) is your RETURN on ENERGY? (In this case, ‘ENERGY’ means both physical and mental TIME and FOCUS.) Is the end result worth the ENERGY? Are you working on your Top 3% or still expending a lot of (wasted) energy at the bottom?

*This concept is explained and expanded wonderfully in a great book by Jim Loehr called The Power of Full Engagement.

Loehr’s premise is very simple: It’s all about MANAGING YOUR ENERGY… NOT YOUR TIME.

Special Note: I believe this RETURN ON ENERGY concept applies both to YOU and your INVESTORS / CHAMPIONS. (They are also expecting a return on ENERGY, not just a return on INVESTMENT.)

As I was pulling this together, it hit me that the first return may be the RETURN ON RELATIONSHIPS. I never really heard anyone talk about it this way, but if you think about it, the RETURN on a RELATIONSHIP could be a way to talk about both RETURN ON IVNESTMENT and the RETURN ON ENERGY.

Again, I believe this RETURN ON RELATIONSHIP applies to both YOU and your FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATION, and your STAKEHOLDERS, INVESTORS and CHAMPIONS.

Are you actually maximizing the RETURN ON RELATIONSHIPS? Are your top prospects and potential investors clear about their RETURN ON THE RELATIONSHIP? And, finally, can you use this whole concept of ‘RETURN’… on the RELATIONSHIP… on the INVESTMENT… on ENERGY… as a way for you to get TRULY FOCUSED???

You’re in Sales… Get Over It


Nick and I have been working with some really impactful organizations that, like many of you, came late to the idea that:

“God gives every bird food.
He just doesn’t throw it into the nest!”

At the moment we’re working with an Abbey in Northern California. Beatitude House in Youngstown. The International Baccalaureate Association in Geneva, Switzerland. Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego. American Numismatics Association. Junior Achievement. And many others.

We were with the American Lung Association’s National Development Conference last Thursday and 50 Christian Brothers’ schools on Friday. In two weeks I’m speaking with CEOs and Development Teams from all the YMCA’s in North America.

One part of our MESSAGE is always the same:

NOTHING HAPPENS UNLESS YOU’RE OUT SELLING…YOUR VISION. YOUR IMPACT. YOUR MESSAGE. YOUR IDEAS. YOUR RETURN ON INVESTMENT. Etc., etc., etc.

All of these organizations, and all of you, are deeply committed to your CAUSE and your ORGANIZATION.

Yet, none of you have been ‘TRAINED IN SALES’!

(You’re not alone. Even the Nation’s business schools provide no SALES TRAINING. Yet, in this ‘FOR PROFIT WORLD,’ SALES drives [almost] every company. Without it, all products and services remain ‘on the shelf.’)

I’ve spent my whole adult life in SALES, much of it selling ‘INTANGIBLES’ (large gifts/commitments for great causes and cases).

Nick and I are out ‘PRACTICING’ our craft/art every day.

Here are three really big things that may help you on your next VISIT/’SALES CALL’.

  1. DISCOVERY
  2. SHARE THE STORY –> PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY
  3. AUTHENTICITY

ACTION:

  • Write this on a little card.
  • Look at this every time you go to visit/meet with a Qualified Prospect or Potential Investor.

THE SHORTHAND.

  1. DISCOVERY. Where’s the best place to find out ANYTHING you want to know about your INVESTOR/PROSPECT???FROM THEM!Remember: SELLING IS NOT TELLING!

    ASK QUESTIONS. More importantly, LISTEN TO ANSWERS!

    Here are three great questions to help you with your DISCOVERY.

    • WHY are you engaged/involved with us?
    • Which of these three things (buckets) is most important to you?
    • Can you help us Fund this Vision?
  2. SHARE THE STORY –> PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY. SHARE THE STORY is exactly that. SHARE. THE. STORY.Everybody in the organization can share THEIR ‘story’.

    You must also be able to capture the ‘STORY’ of your organization… your cause… your vision.

    Then, PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY This is NOT about ASKING PEOPLE FOR MONEY!!!

    • It’s about PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY for them to make an IMPACT!
    • To move from SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE!
    • To SAVE LIVES. To CHANGE LIVES. To CHANGE THE WORLD!

    Special Note: Ask your Board Members or Volunteer Leaders whether they’d rather go out and ‘ASK THEIR FRIENDS FOR MONEY’ …or
    SHARE THE STORY –> PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.

  3. AUTHENTICITYFirst, this is about being YOURSELF! If you just started with the organization, say so; and, then explain why you made that decision. If you spent 10 or 15 years working with your organization, explain WHY you devoted that kind of commitment to this cause.Additionally, AUTHENTICITY is about total candor. Sometimes even BRUTUAL HONESTY. (“You’re one of our top investors. You helped us build this plan and we know you want to see it succeed. Can you take the LEAD?”) Nick had a great line last week that was about as AUTHENTIC as you can get. “I have one goal with you today: to have your jaw drop at the unbelievable impact that this organization is having on children. That’s it.”

    CLOSE: For those of you out VISITING and PRESENTING… I hope you can use these simple but powerful reminders.

For the rest of you…

  • Get out of the office. (GO PRESENT OPPORTUNITIES.)
  • Stop doing research. (DO DISCOVERY… ON THE VISIT.)
  • Stop doing proposals and grant writing. (GO SHARE THE STORY AND PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY.)

Video: For Impact Message


Here’s a great video of Tom sharing the For Impact Message / Point of View (6min 35sec) at a recent conference in the Boston area.

No More Major Gift Officers


Don’t freak out! If you ARE a Major Gift Officer … or have just HIRED a Major Gift Officer … or HAVE multiple Major Gift Officers … THAT’S GREAT!!!

What I’m strongly urging you to do is to CHANGE THEIR TITLE!!!

  • It’s soooooo development-y and fundraise-y!
  • It’s such an insider’s word.

We should wear a sandwich board that says “I’m a MAJOR GIFT OFFICER. I’m coming to ask you for a Major Gift. Get ready.”

Nobody OUTSIDE your organization deals with “MAJOR GIFTS”.

Nobody INSIDE even knows what they are.

As always, I challenge you with the NO MORE … but offer an alternative SOLUTION.

Change the TITLE of your “MAJOR GIFT OFFICERS” to something that includes the word RELATIONSHIP!!!

  • Could be a CRO: Chief Relationship Officer.
  • Could be a RRO: Regional Relationship Officer
  • Could be RDOR: Regional Director of Relationships
  • Could be a CRO: College Relationship Officer
  • Could be just R.O.: Relationship Officer

Casting and Funding a Vision (intro)


This introductory teleseminar offers a condensed version of our popular 1/2-day introductory worskshop. Change the way you FUND your Vision with these simple nine guiding principles that range from the For Impact vocabulary to the introduction of the Major Gifts Process.

This seminar is led by Nick Fellers and is 38 minutes in length.

Intro Seminar

MP3 File

(from the) Bucket to the Bank


While working with the SALES TEAM at Colorado College last week, one of their bright, young superstars, Robb Pike, came up with a great ‘CATCHPHRASE’ for moving from
‘IN PLAY’ to actually getting the AREA OF INTEREST and DOLLAR AMOUNT ON THE TABLE.

He called it ‘DOLLARS IN THE BUCKET’.

[Getting the AREA OF INTEREST is the BUCKET; the DOLLARS reflect a realistic investment amount.]

Then, it was pretty easy for us to move from:

‘DOLLARS IN THE BUCKET’ … to … ‘DOLLARS IN THE BANK’

Here’s my SIMPLE 1, 2, 3 for moving prospects at the top of your MASTER PROSPECT LIST to a COMMITMENT … AT THIS GIVEN MOMENT!

  1. ‘IN PLAY’
    • Take ACTION!
    • PRE-DISPOSE!!
    • Get VISIT Scheduled!
    • Do DISCOVERY (maybe even on the VISIT)
  2. ‘PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY’
    • Get $$$ in the BUCKET!
    • Get a ‘NUMBER on the TABLE’ … in a SPECIFIC AREA of INTEREST
    • No ‘FUZZINESS’ about WHY you are with them!!!
    • Create SENSE OF URGENCY
  3. ‘COMMITTED’
    • Get the COMMITMENT!
    • $$$ in the BANK!
    • Put it in WRITING! (You to them; them to you.)

As always, JUST ASK!!!

Leadership Consensus Building


Leadership Consensus Building is both a lightning fast alternative to a feasibility study and a process to:

  • Engage top stakeholders.
  • Gather input and feedback around your message and priorities.
  • Commit to a funding plan

This seminar is led by Tom Suddes and is 30 minutes in length.


MP3 File | Seminar Guidebook

You should use this LCB process IF:

  • Your VISION/MISSION/MESSAGE is NOT clear, concise and compelling … and CANNOT be delivered in a consistent way by all of your STAKEHOLDERS.
  • You are planning a Campaign … since this process is considerably more productive and
    valuable than the typical “Feasibility Study” or “Internal Case Statement”.
  • Your “needs” require FUNDING that is greater than you’ve ever attempted!!! (And,
    you are not celebrating your “150th anniversary” nor have “10,000 great relationships
    in your database.)

No More Special Events


With special, special thanks to Tom Peters, the man who WOWs me with almost every thought. Yes, the man is a crazy, contrarian, disruptive exclamation point! Which is why I love his thinking.

This is much longer than most of my WOW Emails … but it’s a pretty big “epiphany” (both mine and Peters’ word). In fact, this WOW Email is itself meant to ben a “Memorable Experience“. As you read deeper, I’m even hoping it could be a “Transforming Experience“.

I urge you to share it with your Board, your Development Committee, your “Gala” Committee, your Golf Outing Committee, your Auction Committee. In fact, share it with everyone and anyone who has ever had to go to a “nonprofit … fundraising … function“!

Here goes.

NO MORE “SPECIAL EVENTS”. NONE! NADA! ZIPPO! (Not even “One Big One”, which I used to recommend.)

WHY?

  • Special Events are NOT special!
  • Special Events are NOT even events! They are time-consuming, staff-burning, volunteer-abusive activities.

NO MORE SPECIAL EVENTS!!!

I always ask the question, “How many of you want to do MORE Special Events?” I have yet to see a hand raised from thousands of participants.

Admit it. Your “Special Events” are not! They’re the ‘same old, same old’ … for you and for your “customers/constituents/stakeholders/prospects/potential investors/ investors”.

NO MORE SPECIAL EVENTS.

The goal of For-Impact leaders within a World Class Development Office is to create “Memorable Experiences“!!

I have now gone from a “function” (in the old, old, old days) to a “Special Event” (that is not really special) … to “MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES“!

For Impact Organizations are all about “MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES“.

I was “there”. I just couldn’t get the right “word” I was looking for. Tom Peters found it. I added Memorable to ensure you could distinguish the difference between a Memorable Experience and a “not so special, not so event”.

We spend 1,000 man/woman volunteer hours to raise $1,400! Have you ever actually stopped and asked those “volunteers” if they wouldn’t rather just give you the $1.40 an hour?

Have you ever actually stopped and asked your staff if they have more productive ways to spend their time than coordinating all these events?

“But our Special Event (Auction/Gala/Dinner/Newspaper Sale/Golf Outing) … is DIFFERENT! We ‘raised’ almost $100,000!”

Yeah??? Do you remember your funding GOAL??? Again, you spent a huge amount of volunteer time and energy … AND months and months of staff time … AND you actually “grossed” $100,000.

Simple business principle: You must deduct ALL costs and expenses from your gross dollars! Yes, that includes your staff time! When you do that, you actually “net” $35,000! Or, in other words, it cost you 65¢ to raise $1.00!!!

AND … (this is the worst)! No one who was at your event “experiences” anything about your For Impact Organization! They leave with their auction paddle, a few golf balls, miscellaneous “stuff” … but no mention of WHAT you do, WHY you do it or HOW you do it!!

ACTION: Use the “EXPERIENCE” word to help:

  1. Communicate your STORY! …
  2. Share your VISION! …
  3. WOW the “audience” with what you do, why you do it and how you do it …

I know you think I’ve “lost it” (again!) “You and Tom Peters are both whacko crazies who throw ideas at us that sound good (even exciting) but they can’t be acted upon!” I can hear you now: “We can’t do that … we’re a nonprofit”! “We have no budget”! “Our volunteers won’t go along with that”! “We’ve always done it this way!” “The Committee expects it.” Etc., etc., etc. (Think “Sacred Cows”, “whine with your cheese”, etc.)

Blow it up! Abandon it! Re-imagine it! Turn the “Sacred Cow” into hamburger!

I know many of you (and your organizations) see this move from “Function” to “Special Event” to MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE as a HUGE LEAP!

It’s not.

Here is the HUGE LEAP: TRANSFORMATION.

From “Special Event” to “Memorable Experience” to a “TRANSFORMING EXPERIENCE“.

It’s just not “special”. It’s not even just “memorable”. It literally and truly and actually TRANSFORMS the people through the “experience“.

My first real “experience” with a “Memorable Experience” was at Notre Dame. Jim Frick and Fr. Hesburgh were so far ahead of the curve when they began “fly-ins” to Notre Dame. The numbers were staggering: 111 people brought in. 107 commitments. Over $100 million of commitments (on $130 million campaign). It was about the “experience” of those who were flown in for the weekend. Private jets (in 1975!) Mass at the Log Chapel. Dinner on top of the library with all the lights on campus turned on. Customized tours of areas of interest, etc., etc., etc.

If any of you have ever been to an American Cancer Society RELAY for Life Experience, you know what a Memorable Experience is. Twenty-four hours around a track with luminaries and survivors and families is a MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE! It’s a moving experience! It adds to the “story”! They still call it a “Special Event” but that’s because of the size of the bureaucracy. They’re actually running Relay for Life as a skunk works entrepreneurial venture separate business unit. Is it working? They raised $275 Million last year; and hope to raise $1 Billion in the next three years.

Here are some Hewlett Packard WHAT IF’s:

WHAT IF … you are a For Impact Organization?

WHAT IF … you have a social entrepreneur’s mentality?

WHAT IF … you use creativity, not money?

WHAT IF … you bought into this whole “Memorable Experience”
thing?

WHAT IF … you carried it beyond your ‘events’???

WHAT IF … everything you did in your World Class Development Office was a Memorable Experience?! Your Annual Report?! Your Mailings?! Your Leadership Society WOW Packets?! Your Recognition Events?!

WHAT IF … you turn a simple “tour” of your facility or new building or whatever into a MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE???

This is what the Red Cross is doing in Maine as they move from a simple “event” in their new building to a truly Memorable Experience … which shows off the building as the “place” where they provide training, services, and administer disaster relief. (They’re not only going to invite Qualified Prospects/Investors but their families, spouses and children to see the WHAT, WHY and HOW of the American Red Cross in their community!!!)

WHAT IF … it went beyond your Development Office??? To your organization?

  • Your reception (area or receptionist) was a Memorable Experience?
  • Your introduction to your stakeholders was a Memorable Experience?
  • Every “Moment of Truth” (from Jan Carlson) was
    a Memorable Experience?

WHAT IF … every Board Meeting was a MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE? Now you’ll get attendance! Now you’ll get people who actually enjoy going to Board Meetings vs. the same old boring information dissemination that exists at most Board Meetings.

(I speak from some personal experience here. I’m on the Board of one of the finest For Impact Organizations in the world. Its cause is unbelievable. Its staff is the best! Its founder and key Board members are truly exceptional! And … its Board Meetings are dull, boring and forgettable. Who wants to drive 45 minutes to a “Board Meeting” to “review the finances” … to “listen to Committee Reports” … to, occasionally, “hear about our impact???” No ONE.)

Here’s the tip/idea/lesson: If you could make every one of your Board Meetings a truly MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE … with PARTICIPATIONFEEDBACKACTUAL CONTACT with those you serve, those who deliver, those who partner, etc., wouldn’t that be awesome?

A Special, Special, Special Note!

  MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES require Creativity! Innovation! WOWs! Artists! Mavericks!

Which means …

You cannot create Memorable Experiences with the same group of volunteers who have run your not-so-Special Events for the last ten years!

You cannot create Memorable Experiences if they are led by your Accounting Office … your Finance Office … your HR Department!!

Think artists! Think theatre! Think young! (Give that new staff person a chance to show off their creativity!)

If you’ve ever been touched by the Suddes Experience, you know I love to change your vocabulary … change the way you think … change how you speak and then act.

Here are some closing thoughts on old words and new words that could help you “get it”.

(But, remember the immortal words of Kevin Kelley, another great thinker/writer: “It’s much easier to KILL an organization than to change it substantially.”)

OLD

  • Special Events
  • A “Nice” Function (Read Gala, Golf Outing, Fundraising Dinner, etc., etc., etc.)
  • A Motorcycle
  • Shoes
  • A Cup of Coffee
  • A Costly Airplane Ride
  • A Circus (with 3 Rings and some Animals)

NEW

  • Memorable Experiences
  • A Knock Your Socks Off … Incredible WOW … Transforming Experiences!
  • The Harley Davidson Experience
  • The Nike Experience
  • The Starbucks Experience
  • The Southwest/Jet Blue Experience
  • *The Cirque Du Soleil Experience

*If you have not been to a Cirque Du Soleil “Experience” … go to one as soon as you possibly can! They’re in Vegas. Orlando. Multiple road shows around the country. You cannot attend a Cirque Du Soleil performance and not understand the word “Experience“.

I want you to think about these three things:

  1. Memorable Experiences as a truly transforming idea. (Change the Way you THINK!)
  2. Memorable Experiences as a very big deal in your For-Impact Organization … and within your World Class Development Office! (Change the Way you OPERATE!)
  3. Memorable Experiences as an incredible PREDISPOSITION IDEA … and a mantra for PRESENTING THE OPPORTUNITY. (Change the Way you FUND!)

This last is pretty exciting! It turns a Not-So-Special Event into a Memorable Experience … which is then used as PREDISPOSITION to PRESENT THE OPPORTUNITY!
(I know you’re tired of WOW! But I truly believe this is a WOW!)

This PREDISPOSITION is a big, big, big deal! Think about your Memorable Experiences as perhaps the BEST way to predispose for the presentation of the opportunity!

*Again, that means your Memorable Experience has to be tied directly to your For-Impact Organization’s reason for existence … (as opposed to an event tied to Golf or Gala or Dinner!)

Here’s the proverbial (SIMPLE) bottom line. Create Memorable Experiences!

Make them a showcase for both your cause and your organization!

Turn them into unbelievable PRESENTATION TOOLS … perfect PREDISPOSITION … and the OPPORTUNITY!!!