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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Board… Not… Responsible… Fundraising

Nick and I are on our way to make a presentation to select members of an amazing For Impact health care organization in Virginia.

As we talked out the presentation and prep last night, I was reminded of the power of this simple statement:


You may have heard this from us before, but just a reminder to everyone that is struggling with:

    • Getting the Board to ask their friends for money.

    • Sharing names of people who need to be hit up. (“How’s that working for you?” as Nick always says.)

    • Handing out 3 x 5 cards and then having follow-up meetings to discuss ‘progress’ (when, of course, there is none).

The Board should do 3 things as it relates to funding.

    1. Champion… a Cause, a Case and the Organization.

    2. Invite… others to be engaged.

    3. Invest… with a commensurate commitment.

P.S. If they can’t do those 3 things, they are not ON BOARD… and, therefore, should not be ON THE BOARD.

Binary v. Analog and STARTING a development operation

This is an excerpt from an email I just fired off to one of last week’s boot camp attendees. Her organization has a $5M operating budget – mostly covered by government funds. They are ‘new to fundraising’. I’ve encouraged them to focus on the process of making visits — to get the funds flowing and then focus on a bigger plan for $1M/ $5M or $10M (whatever the goal is). This is in contrast to most orgs where I would encourage them to identify a funding goal and work backwards (doing the math).

Binary v. Analog. Right now your goal is to start fundraising. It’s not to generate $10Million (that’s the vision). In other words, it’s more about getting out a process and success around bringing in gifts (binary) at $10K+ than it is raising $3M v. $4M (analog).

Once you get the process going and you have some comfort, a process and some traction I would then take a step back and look (again) at the big picture and put together a funding plan for the bigger goal. Right now an organization like [ORG] doesn’t know what it can and can’t do… everything’s a guess. I’m okay with that. To your team though, it ‘feels like a guess’ — that makes it more difficult to act on.

Just like a runner would – get in the habit of running, then choose a marathon training program. Start running (binary) then get strategic and adding distance (analog).

With that in mind, in your case I would not focus on the HUGE BIG NUMBER. I would focus on your PURPOSE and the MODEL (still three buckets) and then a goal to get 100 members in the LEADERSHIP SOCIETY. The message could be around $2,500+ — the cost to deliver the model to one family. You could ask for more by asking people to underwrite X families.

I use the Binary v. Analog all the time — especially to frame a goal. For instance, some times the goal is to get a prospect IN (invested) NOW. It’s not about trying to get $100K v. $140K.

The Magic Napkin


I first used this concept in 1984 on an Economic Development effort in Akron, Ohio. (I still have my little cheat sheet). The leadership had been told by all the other ‘consulting firms’ that they could maybe raise $1.5 Million, at the most. My brother John and I walked into the board and asked them how much they really needed over the five years to deliver what they were promising. That number was $4.3 Million.

That became the goal (we didn’t know any better!) Then, we made a Master Prospect List. (We might have called it somehting else, but that’s what it is). Then we matched it to the funding pyramid. Then we asked everybody for their corresponding investment at the level that was required by the ‘pyramid’. If I remember correctly we ended up raising over $5 Million on the $4.3 Million goal (on what was supposed to be a $1.5 Million max). Not bad.

In Defense of Raising Money

Today, Seth Godin highlighted: In Defense of Raising Money: a Manifesto for NonProfit CEOs. Authored by Sasha Dichter, Director of Business Development for Acumen.

The manifesto is five pages long and only takes a few worthwhile minutes to read.

Read the piece. My commentary (an attempt at adding value) is below.

  • “People think that asking for money is all about asking for money.” Sasha says it’s not. The resources come second. This is reinforcement that IMPACT DRIVES INCOME, not the other way around.
  • “People think that storytelling is a gift, not a skill.” I think the skill comes in understanding how to be authentic. You’ve seen a lot of “effective” story tellers and some of them stink at “telling stories” yet they are so darned passionate they’re still effective because people still see the story.
  • “Money = Power”. Nothing to say – Sasha has an AWESOME perspective on this.
  • “I’m terrified you’ll say ‘no.'” I agree with Sasha, get over it. Be more terrified someone will not be fed because you didn’t ask.

Sasha closes with a call for a new language/vocabulary around fundraising. “If nothing else, then, we need a new word. Fundraising is about a transaction – I raise funds from you, you get nothing in return.”


I’m currently a fan of “Advancing the Vision.” And, while it may sound academic in some circles, those that ‘Advance the Vision’ can be Directors of Advancement or something similar. That’s what you do.

Action and Getting Things to Happen

Nick has shared with you some things about an A.F.E. – an ACTION-FORCING EVENT. In my last two COACHING CLINICS it hit me, again, how powerful this really is. Here are 3 quick bullets and a bonus.

  1. PREDISPOSITION!!! If you’re on the For Impact Platform, you know that this is a big, big deal for us. PREDISPOSITION comes before you call to get a visit… is used to set up the presentation… is even used as part of the follow-up. PREDISPOSITION is definitely an A.F.E. (especially if you tell someone you’re going to call them in the next 48 hours to set up a time for the visit!)
  2. DEADLINES. Disney uses the term “THE TICKET IS PRINTED” to reinforce this concept of a deadline. (They tell all the contractors, designers, etc. that this new ‘EXPERIENCE’ [RIDE] is opening on such and such a date. ‘THE TICKET IS PRINTED.’ There will be little kids and their families standing in line… on that day!)

    Priorities, Projects, Programs need DROP-DEAD DATES/DEADLINES, be they real or artificial. Draw a line in the sand. Put a stake in the ground. Use whatever other cliché you want. Just use DEADLINES as an A.F.E.!

  3. MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES. Every single MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE becomes a wonderful A.F.E.! You can tell people you’re going to follow-up. You can announce plans, kickoffs, groundbreakings, etc. Think of your MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE as it relates to ACTION! (A literal ACTION-FORCING EVENT.)
  4. Bonus: BOARD MEETINGS. With all due respect, every “not-for-profit” Board Meeting is a disaster. Boring. Information-driven. No engagement. The only real ‘ACTION’ is approving the minutes from the last meeting.

    WHAT IF… you could literally use your Board Meeting as an ACTION-FORCING EVENT? Approve the Funding Plan! Create Leadership Consensus around Priorities! Get buy-in at the highest level on your Message and Vision!


This is a military term for an AFTER-ACTION REPORT. (It has nothing to do with AARP which is a very quiet but powerful organization for old people like me.)

You’ve heard me or read me when I talk about failure… engage then plan… prototype… act now. Every time you actually DO something, it becomes a wonderful lesson…IF you actually take the time to think about what happened, debrief, and get feedback.

AFTER-ACTION REPORTS in the military are the primary means of debrief and feedback. I would encourage you to do your own A.A.R:

  • After Every Visit!
  • After Every Memorable Experience, Predisposition, etc.
  • After Every ‘Lesson’

Special Note: In our For Impact ROADMAP, the EXECUTION component is comprised of PREDISPOSITION, PRESENTATION and FOLLOW-UP.

It this model, the FOLLOW-UP includes a MEMO FOR THE RECORD… in other words, an AFTER-ACTION REPORT! No exceptions. No excuses. There needs to be a written summary of the visit and the required follow-up/action.

There it is.


Common word?


Authenticity and Simplicity

AUTHENTICITY is one of the centerpieces of our FRAMEWORK for PRESENTATIONS.

As Nick is always telling our workshop and training participants, “You just can’t go wrong if you are AUTHENTIC (REAL).”


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 somewhere 25 years ago (I think it might have been Dennis Waitley) that the word SINCERE means ” without wax” ( Latin sine = “without”, cera = “wax”) . It had something to do with marble and sculptors and the way they would “fix” any flaws or mistakes that they made by filling in the mistake with wax.

Challenge to Change

Note: I’m working with an incredible FOR IMPACT organization in San Diego called Father Joe’s Villages. They SAVE LIVES … INSPIRE LIVES … CHANGE LIVES … every day.

One of the key elements of their national model is a program called ‘CHALLENGE TO CHANGE‘ … where they work with those in need to help CHANGE the way they think, feel and act.


Every one of us is looking to make some kind of ‘CHANGE’ in their own personal life, our organizations, our relationships … or in the World.

This is the year.

To get you started, I would remind you of one of my absolute favorite quotes from one of my favorite people, Tim Kight:

“We are perfectly designed to get the results we are getting.”

Tim not only uses that in the ORGANIZATIONAL work that he does, but in his PERSONAL BEST seminars.

What does this really mean? Exactly what it says.
If you want different results, you need a different ‘design’.

Change or Die.

Alan Deutschman just expanded his provocative and challenging Fast Company cover story (May 2005) into a full-length book: Change or Die. I just finished it, and would strongly recommend this as a terrific place to get started on your 2007 CHALLENGE TO CHANGE.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • When given the real choice of LIFE or DEATH, the scientifically studied odds are 9 to 1AGAINST change!
  • Deutschman, on the other hand, says “People can change the deep-rooted patterns of how they think, feel and act.”
  • However, we need to replace the three misconceptions about change. (‘FACTS’, ‘FEAR’ and ‘FORCE’) with what he calls the Three Keys to Change: RELATEREPEATREFRAME (which create new hope, new skills and new thinking).

Nick and I are going to be writing about this concept of CHALLENGE TO CHANGE over the next few weeks. We don’t want this to be the standard’ NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION’, which merely fills up every athletic club in America from January 1st until January 11th; and then they’re back to normal.

Bertram Russell, the philosopher and political pundit, said:

“CHANGE is one thing. PROGRESS is another.”

Don’t just CHANGE TO CHANGE. We all want to make PROGRESS in our personal lives, our relationships, our organization and our teams.

Watch for more …

Timing is Perfect for Impact

There has never ever been a better time to move from being a not-for-profit ‘begging’ for money to a For Impact Organization ‘begging’ for change!!!

A Very Important Message:

Thirty days or so left before the end of the ’06. I’m driving back from Notre Dame after meeting with Jim Davis and Melissa Paulsen (Gigot Center for Entrepreneurial Studies) about Social Entrepreneurism, Micro Ventures, etc. (By the way: Great people. Great program. Great place.)



Never, at least in my lifetime (57 years), has there ever been such a
ConfluenceCongruenceComing-together … around this whole idea of PHILANTHROPY, GENEROSITY, SOCIAL IMPACT, SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURISM, SOCIAL INNOVATION and more.

This ‘PERFECT STORM’ … this ‘TIPPING POINT’ … this ‘(put in any other metaphor/analogy you want that helps you get it)’ should make everyone who’s engaged in this 3rd Sector, Social Sector, Philanthropic (Friend of Mankind) World very, very EXCITED! [This includes not just the staff who deliver, but the Boards, Volunteers and Volunteer Leaders and Investors who make it happen.]

My BOTTOM LINE: IF … you are actually making an IMPACT … making a DIFFERENCE … CHANGING the WORLD (or a small part of it) …

THEN there are plenty of people, prospects and potential investors who will help FUND that VISION, those GOALS and your OPERATION!!!

WHY?? Because it makes them FEEL GOOD! GREAT! HAPPY! FULFILLED! It allows people to move from SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE!!! (It’s been scientifically confirmed that ‘giving/helping’ is good for you! In addition, the MORE you GIVE … THE MORE YOU GET! (I’ve personally witnessed this thousands of times and still don’t understand HOW it works, but it does.)

This whole thing began, at least in my mind, with Bill Gates, in the shower, realizing he had more money than he’d ever need … and that he could make a HUGE IMPACT if he focused on BIG world (and U.S.) problems (health and education). Then, he brought in Melinda, his dad, and Patty Stonecipher.

Then we got the whole West Coast ‘V.C.’: Social Venture Capital thing happening, from Paul Shoemaker in Seattle to Jeff Skoll in San Francisco. (This wasn’t the full ‘answer’, but it created great ‘DIALOGUE’ around investing, return-on=investment, effectiveness, duplication of efforts, and more.

On the East Coast, this MOVEMENT got even more traction when large foundations were challenged on their giving goals and policies. [Huge endowments, giving away only ‘5%’, and only for new programs, never for ‘operations’, etc.]

Then … WHAM: 9/11. KATRINA. TSUNAMIS & HURRICANES. And we realized that AMERICA … and AMERICANS … are the most incredibly GENEROUS people on the planet!

Then, Pierre Omidyar (eBay) ‘invests’ $100 Million in micro-lending opportunities and other programs, and doesn’t care if you’re a ‘for profit’ or a not-for-profit’, as long as you are FOR IMPACT!

Then, Warren gives Bill and Melinda ‘a few bucks’ ($38 Billion!) … to have an IMPACT! (While he’s still alive.)

Then, the MEDIA. SLATE magazine recognizes the LARGEST GIVERS. So does BUSINESS WEEK. Stanford launches the SOCIAL INNOVATION REVIEW. FAST COMPANY, with Michael Porter, creates the Social Capital Awards. The ECONOMIST comes out in February of 06 with a first ever survey on philanthropy, social impact, etc. WALL STREET JOURNAL picks up on the ‘theme’.

Last week, John Stoussel does an entire 20/20 on the GENEROSITY of AMERICANS. [Eli Broad tells Stoussel that it’s not about ‘CHARITY’. It’s about an INVESTMENT! He goes on to say basically he can’t find enough GOOD ORGANIZATIONS … making an IMPACT!]. USA TODAY follows up next day with an editorial.

And then there’s OPRAH. She not only covers, encourages , inspires this MOVEMENT … but this year (in lieu of personal gifts/cars to the audience) she gives each of her 342 audience members $1,000 … and CHALLENGES them to ‘PAY IT FORWARD’ (give it away) … to feel the JOY of helping others.

And then there was the BUSINESS, SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE CORPORATIONS, CAUSE MARKETING phenomena that is now ready to EXPLODE! The funny thing? Social responsibility, fair trade, workers rights and the BIGGIE (that’s going to change the world as we know it) ‘GREEN’, eco-friendly, environmentally-conscious … all end up making more money for these ‘do-gooders’!

Starbucks. Wal-Mart. Timberland. IBM. Companies are now willing to step up and say ‘SHAREHOLDER VALUE’ is not just ‘QUARTERLY PROFIT’ but a COMMITMENT to the COMMUNITY and the PLANET. [You must read CAPITALIZING ON CONVERGENCE at Stanford Social Innovation Review.]

And then, a huge WOW! Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank win the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE … for his micro-lending, micro-entrepreneur, micro-IMPACT model! (I was there. In Bangladesh. Saw what goes on with these mostly women and their micro-enterprises. It’s absolutely incredible.)

The biggie here? He gets the ‘PEACE’ prize because ELIMINATING POVERTY is one of the best ways to fix social problems in the 3rd world!!!

What does this all mean to you?

We live in the most GENEROUS country in the world … and perhaps in the history of the world.

Next year, Americans will give well over $300 Billion.

McKinsey says there is $100 Billion of OPPORTUNITY (money left on the table) because of the high cost of fundraising or the lack of ability to communicate our IMPACT/MESSAGE.

Finally, there is going to be $100 Trillion passed on by us old people in the next 30 years give or take.

From my perspective, all this means that THE MOST COMMON ‘NONPROFIT’ PROBLEM/CHALLENGE/ COMPLAINT is totally ‘MISGUIDED’ (read WRONG).

“We don’t have any money.”

“We need more money.”

“We don’t have any prospects.”

“We have no relationships.”

That thinking is sooooo wrong!!!

If you ever, ever, ever read or heard our For Impact MESSAGE, then you’ll know that the BIG ‘POINT’ here is that it’s not about your ‘fundraising’ and ‘prospects’ and ‘money’ … it’s about your IMPACT.

Again, (repetition is a good thing) IF … you are actually making an IMPACT … making a DIFFERENCE … CHANGING the WORLD or a small part of it …THEN there are plenty of people, prospects and potential investors who will help FUND that VISION, those GOALS and your OPERATION!!!

*The BIG ASSUMPTION here is that you actually KNOW what that VISION is … and that you’re able to ARTICULATE your GOALS and your MESSAGE in a Clear, Concise and Compelling fashion … Consistently!


  • This is the perfect time of the year and the perfect time in history for you to sit down with a committed group of CHAMPIONS and work on your VISION and your MESSAGE! DO IT!
  • Then … go forth and JUST ASK!!!

Special Note: In this forum, I rarely talk about what we at For Impact/The Suddes Group can do to help you. This is that rare exception.

  • If you need help with ‘BOARD TRAINNG’ to better understand the For Impact Message and Methodology … we can do that.
  • If you need help with ‘SALES’, MAJOR GIFTS, CAMPAIGNS or anything related to significantly increasing your INCOME … we can do that.

Just email or call Nick …


There was a great article in USA Today at the end of last week about John Lasseter, the hyper-creative head of Pixar Studios, who now heads up all of Disney Animation. I LOVE everything that has come out of Pixar. (This includes Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and The Incredibles.) All of which, by the way, I have watched 150 times with Savannah and Keegan.

This was a wonderful article on CREATIVITY, INNOVATION and IDEAS. There was also a little “nugget” about what Lasseter and his team calls “PLUSSING” … which is taking “something that is GOOD and making it BETTER (GREAT).”

Think about that as you’re working this week. Keep “PLUSSING” everything.