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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

The World’s Greatest Philanthropist

I love Bill and Melinda Gates. This has nothing to do with Microsoft… but everything to do with their commitment to literally change the world.

Philanthropy is Greek for ‘friend of mankind’, and nobody are bigger friends of mankind than Bill and Melinda.

Jeff Raikes was named CEO of the Gates Foundation within the last year. There is a terrific article/interview in Stanford Social Innovation Review that you need to read if you’re in the Third Sector… and have any interest in fundraising, development, philanthropy and philanthropists, and funding your vision.

Special Note: Talks about how much he really likes his “Impact Planning and Improvement Group”. It’s all about the IMPACT!

How to Weigh In On the Healthcare Debate

I’m an entrepreneur. (French word for fool.) I was entrepreneur way before it was cool or hot. I have an entrepreneur’s attitude and an entrepreneur’s perspective. (Creative Destroyers, Opportunity Exploiters, Value Creators, Pathfinder Rule Breakers.)

This is not about politics. It’s about the classic dilemma of actually DEFINING THE PROBLEM.

From what I’ve read, nowhere in the four, five, ten different ‘bills’, with over 2,000 pages, is there anything about PREVENTIVE MEDICINE!

According to Alan Deutschman’s provocative Fast Company cover story in May of 2005 (which he turned in full-length book called Change or Die) the healthcare industry consumes almost $2 TRILLION A YEAR in the U.S. alone (15% of our gross domestic product).

80% of this healthcare spending budget is consumed by five behavioral issues: too much smoking, drinking, eating and stress… and not enough exercise.

We know the CAUSE of these health problems. We even know the SOLUTIONS. (more…)

Where Are the (Social) Entrepreneurs When You Need Them?

I’ve been carrying around a quote from USA Today about Florida’s Statewide Nursing Shortage. The facts:

    • Four of Florida’s public universities have turned away about half of qualified nursing applicants.

    • An Associate Dean says they don’t have the resources or teachers to teach them.

    • The quote: “It’s very difficult attracting people to academia.”

    • Florida Center for Nursing reports that the state faces a “critical breakdown” in its healthcare system.

    • Nurses qualified to teach can earn much more outside of the classroom… at $100,000/year.

    • The universities are looking to hire faculty members for $45,000/year.

Here’s an entrepreneurial thought:

Pay qualified nurses $100,000/year (instead of the $45,000/year)… and generate millions more dollars in TUITION!



“LEADERS can afford to be uncertain, but (they) cannot afford to be UNCLEAR.”
Andy Stanley

“UNCERTAINTY is not an indication of poor leadership… the temptation is to think, ‘If I were a good leader, I would know exactly what to do.’

Increased responsibility means dealing with more and more intangibles and, therefore, more complex uncertainty.

LEADERS can afford to be uncertain, but (they) cannot afford to be UNCLEAR.

People will not follow fuzzy leadership.”

Pretty self-explanatory quote from Andy Stanley as cited in John Maxwell’s wonderful article in the latest Success Magazine.


And, of course, a CLEAR (and Concise, Compelling and Consistent)… MESSAGE.

How to Be a Social Entrepreneur (updated)

A few months ago I shared Tom’s poster on ‘How to Be a Social Entrepreneur’. A few times each week I receive emails asking if it would be okay to print and share.

Yes. Please print and share. We’ve also updated the file for those of you printing out at home – should give a much more vivid/rich print.

Again – as always – design inspiration from Sami Sunchild.

Download 11X17 PDF

Step 2: Survive Long Enough to Get Lucky

(This was taken from an article in Ode magazine and excerpt from Mission, Inc.: The Practitioner’s Guide to Social Enterprise by Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls Jr.)

“The job of the social entrepreneur is to make sure your enterprise lives to fight another day. Do this enough days in a row, with the power of your social purpose and your commitment to changing the world and your break will come.”

Here’s a terrific thought that should help every (SOCIAL) entrepreneur: “If you take seriously the survive to get lucky mantra, then you shouldn’t presume for a moment that the (social) enterprise you are starting or running today will resemble in any way the one that is going to be creating social change five or ten years from now.”

I have seen that hundreds of times. I’ve seen it with the incredible success story of the three Notre Dame entrepreneurs (who happen to be ‘social’) with their company Better World Books. I’m watching it every week with Ben, Brian and GlobeFunder, Inc. I see it in Chris at Solutions for Change, Dan and Felicia with their Montessori School and even the social enterprise of all social enterprises, Goodwill.

The authors say to remember that you’re dealing with two variables: the needs of the world you’re seeking to change and the dynamics of the industry in which your enterprise is competing.


Social Entrepreneurs: A Pleonasm

I love skimming an eclectic mix of magazines for relevant FOR IMPACT thinking. I particularly love Letters from the Editor.

This month’s (March 2009) ODE Magazine (Tagline: For Intelligent Optimists) has a particularly compelling insight from Jurriaan Kamp. Kamp’s title is APPLES & ENTREPRENEURS.

What do the terms “ORGANIC APPLES” and “SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS” have in common?

Kamp says both are pleonasms. (I had to look it up. It means unnecessary repetition.)

“What’s an apple that grows without chemicals? It’s just an apple. If any kind of apple needs a modifier, it’s that kind that isn’t grown organically. Those we should call ‘chemical apples’.”

He echoes Peters, Collins, Drucker, Suddes and Fellers with this great line: “LANGUAGE IS IMPORTANT.” (See CHANGE YOUR VOCABULARY for more on this.)

He says the current definition of ‘SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS’ is primarily concerned with the CONTRIBUTION (product or service) they make to SOCIETY.

Kamp’s huge point, and very well taken, is that ALL entrepreneurs are really SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS. As he says, “What other reason could there be to start an enterprise other than to make a useful contribution to society?”

“Doing good shouldn’t be a special ‘enlightened business’ category. Shouldn’t we always try to do good? Shouldn’t we always strive to make things work for people around us?”

“After all, that is – to honor Adam Smith – in our best self-interest, since nothing is more fulfilling than knowing we’re making a positive difference in someone’s life.”

From Kamp (and Suddes):

Entrepreneurs should be entrepreneurs. And apples should be apples.

P.S. I’ve taken the liberty of attaching the entire letter. It’s that good. There is also a solid contribution to this whole SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR conversation and a great article on Page 36, NEVER LET A CRISIS GO TO WASTE.

Untemehmer (Entrepreneurial Spirit)

The 19th Century French Economist Jean-Baptiste Say is almost always given credit for the first real definition of an entrepreneur:


Webster says ENTREPRENEUR is a French word for ‘UNDERTAKES‘. (As a serial entrepreneur, I sometimes felt it was a French word for ‘FOOL’.) (more…)


If you are a SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR, For Impact Leader or aspiring ‘wannabe’, you need to get Seth Godin’s new book TRIBES… TODAY!

This guy is a brilliant thinker and a powerful writer. Simple. Clear. Direct.


I will write a better review/summary shortly, but you need to get the book NOW.

Get Entrepreneurs ‘On Board’

You’ve seen or heard Tom and I talk a lot about the importance of ‘on board’ vs. ‘on the board’. In order to really make a transformational leap in your IMPACT and INCOME the kind of thinking and leadership you need will come from individuals that are ‘on board’ with your cause / case…not ‘the whole of the board’.

We’re always encouraging you to find three champions to drive your funding efforts. Again, could be on your board or not on your board but they are always on board.

The BEST on-board champions

  • Drive the vision
  • Will (read: brute force determination) your project to happen
  • See an obstacle as a challenge, not a sign of doom
  • Think big and leap head first with a positive ‘can–do’ attitude
  • Make this vision a self-fulfilling prophecy

The profile above is that of an ENTREPRENEUR. With all due respect to lawyers, bankers, doctors, etc. they usually don’t fit this profile. They can aid with some of the responsibilities of the board but they’re usually not drivers of the vision.

That may seem like a slam on lawyers, banker and doctors — it’s not. I’ve worked with some very committed and passionate people in those industries. They’re GREAT people and they’ll often tell me, “We just don’t think that way.”

We can spend months and years hoping people will become ENTREPRENEURIAL. It’s a way of thinking that’s either there or not. Don’t try to change people. If they don’t fit this profile keep moving…put your energy and effort into finding someone that does.

Another litmus: You want people that will say ‘this will work because’ not ‘what if?’ or ‘I think we need to worry about”.

The action: Find three people that are ‘on board’ [as champions]… start by looking for ENTREPRENEURS that get your cause. You want people that see the vision, not the obstacles. One great ENTREPRENEURIAL CHAMPION ON BOARD will help ‘outperform’ 20 committed people that don’t fit that profile.

Tom’s Ideal Profile (for every org, for every situation)

Someone who is ready to move from SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE!

Someone who has had the ‘Bill Gates-in-the-shower’ epiphany
(“I can’t take all of this with me”).

Somebody who has been very “successful” financially in the
business world and who is now committed to making an IMPACT
on the world.

He or she has already taken care of their family and their own “needs”, as well as their “wants”. There is still plenty left.

Special Note: Taking this a little deeper, my very best Ideal Prospect is someone who has actually moved from STRUGGLE to SUCCESS to SIGNIFICANCE!
For me, that means a Wealthy ENTREPRENEUR!
They know what it’s like to start things… to overcome obstacles… to make a difference. Plus, there’s no “committees”! (They can make a decision.)
This is my “favorite” prospect!