For Impact


Create an Action Forcing Event

Funding Model and Funding Plans | | Nick Fellers

I’ve never worked for the State Department but I know someone who has. Last week I was on the road and spent an afternoon with a campaign champion in California. He introduced a piece of State Department lexicon: ‘The Action Forcing Event’.

The organization I’m working with has a number of pending commitments. We’re using the executive director’s scheduled retirement (March 2008) as a reason for investors to finalize their commitments. This reason, he explained to me, is called an Action Forcing Event (AFE).

He went on to explain that in the government you sometimes have to make up an AFE just to get stuff done.

We can all be using AFE’s as part of our case/rationale for support around WHY we need the commitment NOW. Applied, this could be:

  • A ground breaking event
  • Campaign timeline
  • A symbolic date

Without an AFE you are at the ‘complete’ mercy of the prospect’s timeline. Without an AFE the pending process can (and often does) drag on indefinitely.

I would encourage you to create an Action Forcing Event as part of your strategy for every visit. It’s not often that a visit results in a check on-the-spot so think about ‘timing’ as part of your presentation.