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For Impact | The Suddes Group

Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Strategy + Action Plan with For Impact

I’m somewhat muted in our blog about funding solutions. Mainly because I want it to be a freewheeling forum for thinking. It’s time to un-mute for a moment. It’s time to say TIME OUT. If you want CHANGE, we can help! If you need CHANGE… I want to help!

The reason for this little outburst? Everyone needs help right now… but not in the usual way. Now, more than ever it’s about QUANTUM LEAPS! I just finished my forth conference call of the afternoon. Same story: “We need to change [read: the-way-we-do-business and results$$$]. No one’s sure what to do.”

My dear friends and long time readers: We help organizations make A/THE quantum leap in: funding, infrastructure, message, leadership, the development model and the organizational culture. I’ve bolded funding because I think it’s one big part – but only a part – of the change.

In today’s discussions I’ve been very focused on helping each client or prospective client get their hands around a 100-day-action-plan. A plan that deals with STRATEGY: FUNDING MESSAGE, PRIORITIES, PROSPECTS and ACTION: SALES TRAINING (TEAM), VISITS, MOMENTUM and TRANSFORMATION.

I believe many if not most For Impact readers/leaders HAVE A VISION. What keeps you up at night is certainly the funding — but that is one piece of the HOW… ‘how are we going to get from point A to point B?’ In listening to all the point A’s and B’s right now the cool thing is that EVERYONE is in need of a quantum leap.

We offer strategic coaching to help organizations of every size make a quantum leap in funding. The path forward is about thinking big with strategy and the having a coach to drive home a dead simple action plan.

We’re very interested in helping those that have fire/passion but not the clarity to drive home a 100-day funding plan. We schedule 30-minute discovery and coaching calls with prospective clients in which we listen, provide some direction and then outline a custom coaching/consulting solution. To schedule one of these calls just email me at

Deveopment IS Relationships

I spent some time talking to an ED this morning. We really focused on thinking about development = RELATIONSHIPS.

Historically, this organization ‘turns over’ relationships to the development officer once they’re ‘ready for funding’. It doesn’t working that way. Funding (at a higher level – sales) is not a step or moment in a relationship – it IS the relationship.

Even if you’re not ‘asking for money’ you are always building and then hopefully maximizing the relationship. This is what we mean when we say it’s about RELATIONSHIPS not TRANSACTIONS. Is is the job/role of development to manage the relationship (more broadly) not just the manage the requests for money.

Turn A Presentation Into A Conversation

Nick just shared with you some pretty interesting stuff from his sessions with Tim out in the Northwest.

One really powerful word that struck me was ‘CONVERSATION’.

Tim indicated that Nick helped him see that this was much more about a ‘CONVERSATION’ than a ‘scripted presentation’. I love this because:

  • It re-frames the PURPOSE of the presentation (of the opportunity).
  • It ties very well to whole concept of ‘VISIT’ vs. an appointment! Obviously, you would have a CONVERSATION on your VISIT.
  • It’s really just another great way to understand the word DIALOGUE!If you’re a For Impact member or frequent reader, you’ll know that DIALOGUE is the centerpiece of our PRESENTATION FLOW. There’s always an OPEN… followed by DIALOGUE… and concluded with some type of PRESENTATION OF THE OPPORTUNITY.

Quick thanks to Nick and Tim for helping with a different view of PRESENTATION… CONVERSATION… and RELATIONSHIPS.

The Simple Idea that Changes Everything

Last week Tom and I were with a Benedictine prep school in New Jersey. We were discussing the importance of focusing on top prospects in the development plan when one of the board members asked this question:

“What type of results should we expect if we visit with each of our top 100 prospects?”

Being the ‘helpful outsider’, I gave that wonderfully ambiguous answer: “It depends.”

After thinking for a moment I was able to offer an epiphany that was a bit more insightful…

I’ve never been with an organization which made a commitment to focus on its top 10 prospects that wasn’t completely and totally transformed (in ways beyond funding results).

That’s a long-winded epiphany — I will restate: If you focus on your top 10 prospects it will transform your organization (period).
This is a simple (not easy) idea that changes everything.

The secondary epiphany is that most organizations gloss over their top 10 prospects to make selective visits with prospects 11-100 (if and when they’re making visits).

Why aren’t more organizations transformed by their top 10?

  • They don’t stop to ask the question, “Who are our top 10 prospects?”
  • It’s easier to focus on prospects 11-100.
  • They give up on the top 10 at the first sign of uncertainty. (eg. “The prospect did not return our phone call… she must not be interested.”)
  • They have not yet committed to ‘sales’ and are therefore not out making asks.
  • They have ‘top of the pyramid’ call reluctance because:
    • They can’t communicate the vision/mission/message.
    • They haven’t been trained to sell and therefore fear messing it up.


  • Make a commitment today to focus your energy on your top 10 prospects.
  • Make a commitment to visit with them, share the story, and present the opportunity within the next year.
  • Don’t back down from this commitment*.
  • E-mail me ( on August 13, 2008 with your transformational success story. I would be equally interested (and very surprised) to hear from you if you truly made this commitment and weren’t wildly successful in your funding efforts.

*If you have encounter any of the challenges above join us at a training camp to remove the challenges [more powerful than a plug; it’s a statement of action].

Board Roles and Responsibilities

I just gave two sessions on COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP at the Franklin University Symposium on Leadership.

Almost every ‘COMMUNITY LEADER’ I know is engaged on some BOARD for their church, school, United Way, social service agency, whatever.

Special Note: I led off my session on COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP by simply writing this on a flip chart:

“LEADERS LEAD.” (Any questions?)
Here’s what I shared with them.

(read more PDF)
  1. Be a CHAMPION… for the CAUSE and for the CASE.
  2. INVITE others… to get INVOLVED & ENGAGED.
    to help FUND THE VISION.
30,000′ THE WHY
(Think View from an Airplane)
14,000′ THE WHAT
(Think Top of the Mountain)
(Think Nap of the Earth)

I am always AMAZED… STUNNED… OVERWHELMED… that there does not seem to be a SINGLE ‘NOT FOR PROFIT‘ that has figured out the ROLE and RESPONSIBILITY of the BOARD!!!

I have done a considerable amount of work with colleges, large national associations, almost every Catholic secondary school in America (at least that’s what it seems like), the leaders and national models in cancer research, international education, homelessness, healthcare, museums and much more.

Every single one of these groups… along with pretty much every organization who has attended our workshops or training camps… has a HUGE PROBLEM with this whole BOARD ROLE & RESPONSIBILITY.


You can share this WOW E-Mail with your team, board members and other community leaders.

I’ve also provided stand-alone one-pagers to go deeper on each of these.