For Impact


Nix the Cultivation Event and Go at the Goal.

For Impact Ideas | | Nick Fellers

When we’re on the road we try to meet up with followers, past clients and alumni. Last Friday I held some ‘office hours’ in Chicago and met with four organizations in consecutive sessions. Three readers sought advice on their development plans.

Each plan called for x number of cultivation events this year.

My heart sank. See ‘No More Events’ and ‘No More Cultivation’.

The coaching on this one:

  • The best way to build and maximize relationships is 1:1. See 1x 10x 50x.

  • Even if we do an event, your ‘network’ is going to expend a ton of energy getting people to the event… I would rather expend that collective energy on getting 1:1 intros.

  • Say you do the event… you’re still going to have to work to get the follow-up… which is the goal… just go to the goal.

You can do this:

  • With a good message and story. Absent of these what people hear (and what creates our reluctance to go to the goal) is “Can I come and ask you for money?”

  • With champions and predisposition. No cold calls. Rather than asking my board to fill a table I would rather ask them to be invite others to meet with me for a 30-minute intro. I would provide a process / tools to help them make the intro:

    In my 15 years living in Boston, I’ve never met anyone like [Nick]. The work he and his team is doing is amazing and disruptive. The thinking and approach to serving youth and changing lives reminds me more of something I would expect to see in Silicon Valley than the ‘not-for-profit’ arena.

    I’m reaching out to you because I think you would be interested in hearing what Nick has to say. For my part, I’m also committed to introducing Nick to a wide network of business leaders. To that end, I think an introduction would be mutually worthwhile and mutually enjoyable.

    I’ve asked Nick to follow-up with you directly and ask for 30 minutes of your time.

  • The first visit doesn’t need to be an ambush for money. Quite the oppositve… the goal should be to ENGAGE. To LISTEN. And then to overwhelm the other person with the IMPACT so that he or she says, “This is incredible, how can I help?”

When pushed, we found a way for the three organizations in this story to go super simple in the approach. We navigated around and through the ‘but-what-about-objections’ by bringing back to the core perspective that informs this approach: IMPACT driving INCOME. Hopefully, we’ll save hundreds of hours, thousands and thousands in fundraising costs and dozens and dozens of lives (because we will generate much more INCOME for our IMPACT).