For Impact


Do You Believe… or Know?

Attitude | | Nick Fellers

“Looking back to when we started this organization two years ago I believed we were doing good things… but now I know we’re doing good things.”

I was on the phone with Nancy (training camp alum) yesterday when she shared this thought. It’s very profound.

Nancy started a college access program two years ago. If you’re not familiar with the college access model here’s the napkin message: helps students get to college. (Note to our college access readers: don’t debate me on the message – you’re making it too complex).

Nancy and her organization are on fire… lots of impact, lots of income. Her statement about moving from believing to knowing is one that can probably only be made in hindsight, it’s very honest and deeply philosophical (google: ‘belief’ and read the first entry that comes up).

When Nancy believed the organization was doing good things a lot of great stuff happened. It just didn’t happen nearly as fast… advances weren’t nearly as bold. Now, the world needs to watch out. As Nancy said, “Now I’m moved by a very deep connection to purpose and not just hope [that we’re doing something good]” Again… powerful.

Nancy’s next quest is to get each of her board members to move from belief to knowledge. She’s going to get each of them connected to the purpose. She’s going to show them the impact. They’re going to meet the kids that have been changed by this program. This is another reinforcement of the idea that impact drives income.

This conversation with Nancy triggers so many thoughts:

  • How can you come to KNOW you’re doing good? Changing the world? Saving lives? Transforming lives?

  • You need to move from belief to knowledge BEFORE your visit. During the visit is not the time to take that leap.

  • Unlike other instances, when it comes to PURPOSE, belief and knowledge can be a flexible position. We are human. We need to be reconnected with purpose and have that knowledge reinforced. Heck, you could be a surgeon and save someone’s life one day and wonder about your vocation/purpose the next. Knowing your purpose is, by definition, absolute but we should not assume it to be permanent. Keep testimonials at your desk… keep pictures… keep sharing these with everyone else!

  • Re: The ASK. This is why you need a clear funding plan to share with your best prospects. A whole different level of engagement if I believe my gift could be great or if I KNOW how my investment will help with the plan (to save lives, change lives and impact lives).