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Daily Nuggets: A For Impact Blog

You Can’t Outgrow Losses


I picked up a new book by business turnaround expert Gary Sutton called Corporate Canaries: Avoid Business Disasters with a Coal Minder’s Secret’s. It’s one of those brutal, simple truth reads where the author points out simple logic in a profound way.

Sutton says this book is all about avoiding disasters but I think it’s more about identifying the factors that can have the most dramatic effect on an organization’s finances.

First chapter: ‘You can’t outgrow losses’. To me, this is saying DO THE MATH (and address that issue FIRST). If you’re losing money on sales then more sales is not the answer. So, the For Impact corollary would be that if you’re losing money on fundraising activities – then more of them is not the answer. Seems simple … right?

“Fix profits first. Then add business … And going for more volume with bad margins only makes you die faster.”


More special events … more direct mail … more grant proposals is not the answer. (See … No More)

Fix profits (cost of fundraising) first: SALES (project-related gifts from individuals/corporations/foundations – major gifts). ABANDON special events, direct mail, phonathons, etc. THEN grow your sales operation …. First step to a major TURNAROUND.

This book is a quick and worthy read to help you AVOID disasters (watch the canary warning system) or make a quick TURNAROUND.

I also love chapter four: ‘Any Decision Beats No Decision’ … but that’s another nugget.