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For Impact | The Suddes Group

Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

Just ASK!


‘Just Ask’ the ACTION part of the For Impact message.

  • Through The Suddes Group, we’ve raised a lot of money.  A big reason for this was because WE ASKED.

    So many times I’ve been on a visit with an executive director.  We asked… the prospect (after some dialogue) said yes and the executive director then later said to me,

    “We did everything you did.
    Except we usually just don’t ask!”

  • Through For Impact we’ve trained thousands. We keep track of everyone that leaves a boot camp or that we’ve worked with in some coaching/training capacity. There are those that go on to raise a lot of money and there are those that don’t do much…

    As near as I can tell there is ONE salient difference between those that go on to raise a lot and those that sit of their duff…. They GET this napkin message.

Those that have been to our home at Eagle Creek have probably seen the ‘war room’.  This is the place were Tom, Kerry and I beat each other up about what words to use in our frameworks.

We have a big fight [usually a good fight] about each piece of content that goes into our system.  No big words hang out there by accident.

With that in mind I want to point out what this napkin does NOT say.  It doesn’t say,

  • Just ask when timing is perfect.
  • Just ask when you know exactly what to ask for.
  • Just ask after you’ve visiting with the prospect nine times.
  • Just ask when you’re entire board is on board.
  • Just ask when those butterflies in your stomach are finally gone.
  • Just ask when you have the perfect message.
  • Just ask when you have the perfect materials.

It says, “Just Ask!”

  • Timing will never be perfect.
  • The only what you’ll know what to ask for is by asking (and getting a response).
  • You are in the business of saving, changing and impacting lives It’s not about nine visits.  People cultivate because they can’t communicate!
  • Re: the board… just move… take action.
  • I  still feel like I want to puke before a big ask….
  • The only way to truly test a message is to ASK.
  • Re: Materials, see my above point about message.

Just ASK is all about action.

It’s permission to move.  Nothing happens until you ask!

Until you ask, (one-on-one), the message is not personal.
Until you ask, people don’t know how they can help.Until you ask, the prospect doesn’t guide you through what else is needed (from the message, from the org or plan) to make a commitment.
Until you ask, prospects can’t say YES!

Just Ask!
Always Ask.

This is 90% of everything you need to know about raising money.

FI Master Checklist

Another ’10’ for the week of 10/10/10.

Frank Sullivan, one of Tom’s earliest mentors, used the analogy of the airline pilot always going through his CHECKLIST before every flight, including walking around the plane!

And, as every great coach know, SUCCESS is always a result of executing on the FUNDAMENTALS.

This is the MASTER CHECKLIST we use for ourselves and with our For Impact Coaches… and encourage them to use with their partners/clients. It is a work in progress, but a great way to prepare for your Quantum Leap to a For Impact Organization.

    1. Simplify the MESSAGE. (On a Napkin)
    2. Create POWERFUL STORIES. (The Power of the Story)
    3. Do the MATH. (‘Blue’ + ‘Green’)
    4. Create an ENGAGEMENT TOOL. (Visual. Simple. Purpose/Priorities/Plan.)
    5. Get LEADERSHP ENGAGED. (Champion. Invite. Invest.)
    6. Build a MASTER PROSPECT LIST. (Including the IDEAL PROFILE).
    7. Define your FUNDING MODEL. (Today. Tomorrow. Forever.)
    8. Commit to SALES! (Sales Team. Sales Process. Sales Performance.)
    10. Use Presentation FRAMEWORK & FLOW. (From Authenticity to Present the Opportunity.)

We believe this MASTER CHECKLIST works for just about every For Impact Organization, from a ‘GAZELLE’ (start-up, ready to scale and grow) to a ‘GAZILLION’ (large orgs looking to make the next leap).

*If you need help or coaching on any of these 10 Actions, let us know. It’s what we do.

The Impact Income Napkin

The ‘idea on the back of a napkin’ is pretty impactful. For us, the ‘napkin’ is a powerful device or a metaphor for SIMPLICITY.

Some people see the ‘NAPKIN’ and just get it. Others need to hear examples to really begin to understand the power of .

*And some people just see 2 guys with an addiction to Crayola Magic Markers!

A ‘picture’ really is worth a thousand words. In this case, the ‘picture’ is two big words and some ‘arrows’. This ‘visual’ represents everything we have learned and believe.

If you are reading this on phone or crackberry and can’t ‘see’ the napkin… here are the words:

  1. Impact Demands, Drives, Determines Income.
  3. Then, YOU GET MORE MONEY!!!
  5. Then, check out Visual/Napkin at

*Little bit of Lion King ‘Circle of Life’ going on here, but whatever it takes to make the point! The more IMPACT you have… the more INCOME you can have… the more IMPACT you will have.

Action: Put these words, this visual, the napkin everywhere!

Share it with your Board. Begin every staff meeting with it. Even use it on Presentations.

*It’s a great 30,000’ REMINDER of WHY you do what you do.

Stop Being a Not-for-profit

Stop being a not-for-profit.

Why do we define our selves in the negative? It makes no sense. Does your organization exist to ‘not make any money’? Or, does it exist to save lives, change lives and impact lives?

Stop defining yourself by what you’re not. Start defining yourself by what you are for: impact.

More than a shift in language we need a different way of being.

This shift is about attitude. It’s about your purpose (the WHY). It’s about re-thinking an entire sector (or two).

In 1950 Earl Nightingale wrote The Strangest Secret to Success. The secret (common to many beliefs, all sectors and all definitions of success): "We become what we think about". What becomes of us when our entire thinking is about nonprofit? What if we think instead about changing the world?* What becomes?

Then there is some great thinking from Peter Drucker who wrote, "Every organization has to prepare for the abandonment of almost everything it does." That’s powerful. We agree. A lot of ‘stuff’ needs to be abandoned**.

Think not and be not about: Think and be about:
  • Charity, 501c3
  • Tin Cups,

  • Not-for-profit OR for-profit

  • A cool business/entrepreneur- changing the world.
  • “Selling your Vision”
  • For Impact!

*The Movement: We’ve been sharing this message for the last 15 years and living it for longer than that. The past few years has given rise to an incredible conversation around this VOCABULARY and CHANGE: Social Benefit (Drayton). Social Entrepreneurs/Enterprise. Pierre Odimyer and other change agents are putting resources into ‘for-profits’ that change the world. comes out and says they will have a ‘for-profit’. It’s no longer about not-for-profit vs. for-profit. It’s about For Impact.

**Abandonment (a start): Direct mail. Lengthy Case Statements. Feasibility Studies. "Volunteer Solicitations". Survival Pitches. Small thinking. Cultivation. Special events (that aren’t special and don’t raise money). Letters that read “We are a 501(c)3” (who cares?). Committee Reports….