“… we discovered something startling: The many and diverse choices that made certain companies great were consistent with just three seemingly elementary rules.”
Better Before Cheaper.
It’s best to compete on differentiators other than price.
Revenue Before Cost.
Prioritize increasing revenue over reducing costs.
There Are No Rules.
Holy Batman, Robin.
I may not be quite as crazy and contrarian as some people think! Here’s my take on these three rules applied to the For Impact world.
Better Before Cheaper. Much more importantly, compete on differentiators other than price. In our world, this is about Unique Selling Points, Dramatic Differences, Distinguishing Characteristics … all the things in our Purpose, Message, Value Proposition and Case for Support that makes us DIFFERENT!
*Jeff Strine, one of our Senior Partners, just met with a HUGE community foundation yesterday who had one simple guideline: They don’t want to fund DUPLICATIVE PROGRAMS!
Revenue Before Cost. Increase revenue vs. reducing costs. This is a big, big, big deal for me and for us. IN essence, it says FOCUS ON THE NUMERATOR … NOT THE DENOMINATOR! Or, as that ‘Maverick’ Mark Cuban says, “Sales covers up everything.” We should be focusing on adding additional REVENUE … which I believe comes from a stronger focus on philanthropy and a change in the model from ‘special events’, etc. to specific engagement with your very best prospects and potential investors!
*CUT, CUT, CUT … does not a truly great organization make. John DeLorean (before he created the car for BACK TO THE FUTURE), once told the bean counters at General Motors when they suggested closing one of their plants, “Why don’t we just close all the plants? That will save a lot of money.”
There Are No Other Rules. This is my favorite. (It also gives me major incentive to finish a For Impact Guidebook called CHANGE (THE) RULES!). Here are three quotes to support this third conclusion from studying 25,453 companies!
“You can’t solve a PROBLEM if you’re playing by the RULES.” — Paul Arden
“We will not survive by just tinkering with the RULES of the ‘OLD GAME’. We need to change the entire GAME.” – Larry Wilson
NCAA Basketball Tournament just concluded; and I happened to catch ESPN’s 30 for 30 on the 1983 National Championship run by Jim Valvano and North Carolina State. (This is an awesome story – and incredibly well told.)
This documentary included Valvano’s famous ESPY Awards speech (from 1993).
He began this incredible 10-minute presentation by stating that he “didn’t know how much time was left…” because he was fighting cancer. He went on to say that he’s a very “passionate and emotional man” and he wanted to share some things…
The ’3 THINGS’ he shared all had ’3 THINGS’!!!
*Just so you know, I love the RULE OF 3. It’s used in media, broadcasting, sales, presentations and so much more. All Jim Valvano did was reinforce this for me… in a very emotional and positive way.
1. The 3 THINGS we should do every day:
BE MOVED TO TEARS
Jimmy V. said “THAT’S A FULL DAY!”
2. (Another) 3 THINGS we should think about every day:
WHERE You Started…
WHERE You Are…
WHERE You’re Going To Be…
3. The Lombardi/Valvano Locker Room Presentation around ‘THESE 3 THINGS’:
He talks about his first pre-game speech as a ‘head’ coach with Rutgers Freshman Team. He ‘practiced’ his talk which he had ‘borrowed’ from Vince Lombardi. It went like this:
“All eyes on me.
We’ll be successful this year if we can focus on These 3 Things:
And the GREEN BAY PACKERS!!!”
*As a speaker/presenter, I cracked up at hearing him say ‘Green Bay Packers’ … instead of Rutgers!
Coach Valvano channeled Winston Churchill with his now famous line:
Ireland, as a country and economy, has been devastated even more than the United States in this latest global ‘recession’. Banks have collapsed. Developers have left multiple ‘ghost towns’ of vacant half-finished housing projects. The Catholic Church has lost a lot of its influence. Government austerity programs are in place.
I’ve been to Ireland five times since 2009, to help FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS change their philanthropic culture (or lack thereof) … and scale and grow their impact.
Every time I visit, I am impressed and amazed at the spirit of the Irish people. They have responded to Michael Collins (Irish Revolutionary Leader) and his 1922 definition of ‘riches’. “The real riches of the Irish nation will be the men and women of the Irish nation, the extent to which they are rich in body and mind and character.”
We have partnered with Business to Arts, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, the One Foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies, the Iris O’Brien Foundation and the Arthur Guinness Fund to help change the philanthropic culture from the old ‘story’ (“Government will fund everything. Why should I give?”) to the new ‘story’ (“Philanthropic support is a critical component in Ireland’s future.”)
2013 marks THE GATHERING IRELAND, a year-long celebration of Ireland, its people and all that is great in its connections, both at home and abroad.
The Suddes Group is proud to be hosting our own FOR IMPACT GATHERING IRELAND on May 20, 2013. This Memorable Experience will take place at the iconic Abbey Theatre … and is open to all For Impact (not-for-profit) leaders, staff and boards, social entrepreneurs and anyone else wanting to change the world or change Ireland.
This is Gaelic for IMPACT and INCOME … and it’s working! Results in Ireland have been nothing short of spectacular working within this new philanthropic model. (JUST ASK, however, is still a difficult concept for the Irish. In fact, they don’t even have a word for it! ACH DÍREACH CUIR CEIST is the closest they can come … which is Gaelic for BUT ONLY PUT THE QUESTION!)
For information on the For Impact Gathering in Ireland, click here. Register before April 19, 2013, and save €150 (off the full price of €195 per person) by using the discount code ficommunity.
Special Note: For U.S. members of our ‘Tribe’, this is a great ‘excuse’ to head to Ireland for some Advanced Training … and engagement with the Irish people. Contact email@example.com for more information.
The Internal Revenue Service has abolished their 1913 law that permits organizations to designate themselves as NOT-FOR-PROFITS.
“This designation is contrary to all other industries, as it is the only one defined in the negative. In our usual show of logic and common sense, the IRS has eliminated this designation in the hopes that all ‘charities’ and ‘tax-exempt’ organizations will now focus on their IMPACT.” — An IRS Agent (who asked not to be identified)
FEDS MAKE DOING SPECIAL EVENTS (FOR FUNDRAISING PURPOSES) A FELONY!
The Federal Government has ruled that there will be no more golf outings, galas and other special events that are not special and not events. *Signature Events and Memorable Experiences will still be allowed and encouraged.
“This was the only way we could eliminate all of the events that were sucking up our time and energy and resources … with no real impact on our impact. Now I can blame the government when I tell our volunteers that we will no longer be holding Mostaccioli dinners or selling holes and tables for the golf outing.” — 1,840 Development Officers
SALES EXPERIENCE AND/OR ATTITUDE NOW REQUIRED FOR ALL SEARCHES AND ADVERTISEMENTS FOR DEVELOPMENT OR ADVANCEMENT STAFF!
The Chronicle of Philanthropy has declared that it will no longer place adds for key Advancement or Development positions without listing a ‘Sales Requirement’.
“While philanthropy is Greek for ‘friend of mankind’, the Editors of the Chronicle have finally come to the conclusion that all Impact organizations, and especially the Advancement/Development Teams, are in sales. Get over it.” — Chronicle of Philanthropy Editors
39 STATES BAN FEASIBILITY STUDIES! (Other 11 to soon follow.)
States now require organizations to understand their purpose and priorities, do the math and be able to present the case and rationale for support, as well as where the funds will be used.
*Leadership Consensus Building is still strongly encouraged and could be mandated by legislation by the end of 2013.
“We have watched too many organizations spend huge amounts of money and time on consultants who are asked to go and present hypothetical campaigns with hypothetical priorities and asking for hypothetical gifts.” — Unidentified Governor
CFRE MEMBERS VOTE TO CHANGE THEIR NAME.
By an almost unanimous vote, members designated Certified Fund Raising Executives have voted to change the name of their organization. A new name has not yet been presented, but the movement gaining the most support is to simply drop the ‘D’ in FUND!
“I have been a CFRE since 1981 when it was founded. It has just hit me that the world has actually changed in the last 30 years. ‘Certified’ can mean crazy. ‘Fundraising’ is not the goal of any of our organizations. And ‘Executive’ implies that I am a ‘Suit’ in some ‘Office’ making (stupid) decisions.” — CFRE Member
***In related news, AFP will be changing their name from Association of Fundraising Professionals to Association of Forimpact Professionals, thereby still being able to use their acronym.
300 THIRD SECTOR BOARD LEADERS COME TOGETHER AND DEMAND CHANGE IN VOCABULARY, NO MORE BOARD MEETINGS NOR COMMITTEES!!!
Top philanthropists and community leaders came together under the auspices of the Gates, Skoll and Broad Foundations and demanded the following:
All For Impact Organizations must change their vocabulary! “We will no longer tolerate charities, donors, donations, solicitations, mission statements, warm fuzzy feelings, etc.”
No more Board Meetings! “None of us will attend Board Meetings that are bored meetings. We can read. We want to see, hear and touch the impact and results of our work.”
No More Committees. “One organization I’m working with has created a ‘Committee to Abolish Committees’.”
*All of these leaders also agreed to actually think (bring their brain and experience) when asked to be On Board.
SUPREME COURT DECIDES ‘BLUE’ TEAMS AND ‘GREEN’ TEAMS MUST WORK TOGETHER!!!
For the first time in recent memory, Supreme Court judges unanimously agreed on a ruling: Blue IMPACT TEAMS and Green SALES TEAMS must work together for the betterment of the organization. (The healthcare sector was identified as the primary example of hospital people and foundation people not talking to each other.)
*The judges also ruled that any organization not working together and collaborating as a single unit will be declared a NFA. (Not-For-Anything)
CHARITY WATCH DOGS AGREE THAT COST OF FUNDRAISING EXCEEDING 95% IS IMMORAL AND UNETHICAL!!!
Charity Watch, Charity Navigator and American Institute of Philanthropy also recommend that any cost of fundraising that exceeds 50% requires approval and sign off by every Board Member, the Senior Team and the Head of Development. Also recommend that cost above 50% be deducted from Development Staff salaries.
“In UNCHARITABLE, I challenge this industry to re-think how it fundraises, especially around the idea that you need to spend money to make money. However, even I agree that 95¢ to raise a $1 is not good business.” — Dan Pallotta.
‘JUST ASK’ IS DECLARED A GUIDING PRINCIPLE OF IMPACT SECTOR!!!
From today forward, no one will be allowed to go on a visit without making some kind of ASK! OPPORTUNITY TO HELP must be presented on minimum of 80% of visits.
“I do not want to be cultivated. At my grandparents’ farm, this was another word for spreading manure on plants. I do not want to be met with five times … without ever being told how I can help.” Every Busy Person on the Planet
‘SOCIAL MEDIA’ PROVIDES ZERO NET DOLLARS TO HELP WITH IMPACT!
Social media is great way for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google and others to make loads of money … but creates no ‘net’ anything for 501C(3) Third Sector Organizations.
An in-depth study by six of the leading internet research firms has confidently determined that Social Media is not the Panacea/Holy Grail/Greatest Fundraising Tool ever invented.
Contrary to what hundreds of ‘experts’ (X = Unknown Factor in Math, ‘Spurt’ is a drip of water under pressure. Unknown drips under pressure?) tout on the internet [of course] … this is not THE way to generate huge sums of money.
These research firms agree that, unless you are the American Red Cross using a text response for a huge, compelling disaster … there is absolutely no net income available to help with your impact (using social media as a fundraising activity).
***This study did show one notable exception: Bono and U2 have 13 million ‘friends’ on Facebook. That is the number determined as the minimal number of friends required to raise money through social media.
The best way to raise the most amount of INCOME to fund your VISION is the ‘old fashioned’ way … human contact!
APRIL FOOLS … the ONION … or a BRAVE NEW WORLD? YOU GET TO DECIDE.
Paying attendees will receive an MP3 copy of the seminar audio.
Using this quote as a framing device we’ll explore the design you need to change or drive results … we’ll reference stories and practical nuggets you can implement based on 30 years of in-the-field experience, $1Billion+ raised directly and $1Billion raised indirectly through our coaching clients.
We’ve prepared this free training opportunity to augment the For Impact workshops and WOW emails. It’s a great way to review the For Impact message and share the workshop experience with others. Space is limited.
In this seminar we share:
How to communicate your return-on-investment
Ways to leverage the board and champion support
How to simplify fundraising
Ideas to help you ask for $1M
How to generate more (qualified) prospect names
How to answer the three double questions of every major investor