May 6, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Quote of the Day

without regard to resources currently controlled.”

-Howard Stevens, Harvard Business School

Every For Impact leader should think and act like an entrepreneur.  Actually, everyone would be better off, I believe, with an entrepreneur’s attitude.

10 More Great Quotes on Entrepreneurship.


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May 5, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Quote of the Day

I love quotes. I love the way they tend to capture a big thought or idea in a few words … that are memorable.

There are a lot of websites that provide you a quote of the day. We are adding a quote of the day to to both support the blog and thought leadership, as well to help you THINK. Here are the first set of quotes.

“To hear is to forget.
To see is to remember.
To DO is to KNOW.”

– A Zen Proverb

“To KNOW and not to DO is not to KNOW.”
– 3rd Century Motivational Speaker

“The way to learn to DO things is to DO things.”

– Henry Ford

“I learn by going where I have to go.”
– Theodore Roethke

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May 5, 2014 | Tom Suddes



I thought I would paraphrase The Bard’s 450th birthday.

Shakespeare’s classic quote “To be or not to be … that is the question” becomes a different challenge when you add the words “FOR IMPACT”.

We are human BE-ings. To add incredible meaning and significance to your life: BE FOR IMPACT.

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April 30, 2014 | Kerry Suddes

2014 Sales Boot Camp: ‘Early Bird’ Opportunity

Join us on June 17th and 18th at Eagle Creek (our beautiful 50-acre headquarters) to explore the For Impact Point of View and Sales Process.

Our Sales Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale and take your organization to the next level.

This one time per year opportunity is perfect for organizational alums, new hires or anyone looking to hone their individual skills – both personal and professional!

Sales Boot Camp is a high-energy, two-day session focused on:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close and follow-up

We’re extending our Early Bird pricing – Register before May 9th to take advantage!

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April 25, 2014 | Tom Suddes


We work with some of the best Chief Development Officers/Vice Presidents of Advancement in the country. I am not exaggerating when I say that every single one of them struggles with priorities and focus and time.

I sketched out THE 3 HATS for the Chief Development Officer of a health care foundation last week. Seemed to create great clarity to his roles. I thought I’d share.

Here is the framework and visual for THE 3 HATS … ROLES of a Chief Development Officer in a For Impact organization. I believe this works for ‘smaller shops’, as well as large national organizations or universities/colleges.



Click here to download a copy of THE 3 HATS.

The color code is obviously tied to our IMPACT drives INCOME

  • The Blue Hat. Should be worn as a valued member of the Senior Leadership Team of the organization! The CDO/VP of Advancement should have a ‘seat at the table’. They should be engaged with strategy, the role of philanthropy in any vision or project and contribute their talent and experience to the President and Senior Team.
    The Challenge: Balancing the ‘seat at the table’ with being drug into every meeting and serving on a multitude of committees and getting caught up in Quadrant III and IV activities (Urgent, Not Important. Not Urgent, Not Important.)
    Just say ‘NO’!
  • The Red Hat. The primary reason for being hired (most likely) was to ‘manage’ development. Should be the Senior Leader/Team Leader of Development and Advancement, with responsibility for the entire division/department or foundation. Also must take prominent leadership role with the Sales Team!
    The Challenge: Micromanaging. Personnel/bus issues. Caught up in a never-ending series of ‘meetings to discuss meetings’, etc.
    This ‘hat’ demands a rigor and discipline to do only those things that move the division/department towards its goals. Also demands having the right TALENT to support the CDO’s responsibilities.
  • The Green Hat. Must be the Chief Fundraiser/Chief Income Raiser!
    In the For Impact world, I believe this role is a very important part of the Ideal Profile of a CDO. You must have a portfolio of good prospects … and lead by example around the system, visits, follow-up, results.
    The Challenge: At the end of the day or the end of the week or the end of the month … EVERYTHING ELSE has superseded the role of actually make sure we are generating INCOME … to fund the Vision/Impact.
    The simplest way I have found to deal with this is to put on your Green Hat FIRST! Set aside hours or days that are devoted to SALES! VISITS! PRESENTATIONS! ASKS!

I believe these 3 HATS provide a great metaphor to help you set priorities and, most importantly, focus on what’s important. If you were to actually break down your week or month, you might be surprised at the percentage of time you spend wearing these different hats.

As the Old Guy/Coach … I believe the CDO and Vice President should have at least an equal balance between the 3 hats (1/3, 1/3, 1/3). Better yet, for me, I would strive for 50% Green Hat … 20% Blue Hat … and 30% Red Hat.

Providence of the 3 Hats. Check out my first 3 HAT scrawl for Steve Elder at Colorado College in May of 2004. Steve still has this framed on his desk!

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April 23, 2014 | Tom Suddes

ROI, Part 2

My friend and TSG Senior Partner, Jeff Strine, pointed out a glaring fault in my ROI thinking.

Jeff is a recovering banker. In the financial world, Return-On-Investment means NET. Jeff says it’s sometimes called NET CONTRIBUTION, which makes sense in our world as well.

Here’s Jeff’s example:

  • Gross Revenue: $2M
    Revenues Generated = 2X
  • Investment/Expenses: $1M
    Cost of Raising $1 = 50%
  • Net Return: $1M
    ROI = 1X … not the 2X I used.

I didn’t want Jeff to think I’m a financial moron, but I’m guessing that the net return of $1M or 1X would be a 100% ROI.

My bottom line: Your NET RETURN/ROI should be WAY MORE than your INVESTMENT/EXPENSES.

3X. 4X. 5X.

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April 22, 2014 | Tom Suddes


Note: Sorry. Been away from the ‘page’ for a bit. Back in the game. Always appreciate your feedback.

ROI. RETURN-ON-INVESTMENT. What every ‘Investor’ wants from their investment … and what every For Impact organization should want from its development/advancement/fundraising effort.

We’re doing a ton of work where this concept is completely absent or totally misunderstood.

With all due respect to the industry, I just don’t get it. An organization ‘invests’ money/resources in their development/fundraising operation (a one-person shop or 50 people in the college advancement division). I’m not sure how else you would measure productivity or success without making ROI the #1 barometer.

  • ROI is very simple to calculate. It’s a numerator/denominator math problem.
    Here’s how much money we raised (the numerator).
    Here’s how much money we spent/total expenses (denominator).
  • R (N) – TE (D) = NET, NET, NET CHECK/FUNDS to support IMPACT!
    *’Green’ people write checks to the ‘Blue’ people.
  • R (N) ÷ TE (D) = ROI and COST OF FUNDRAISING. 
    ***For example, if you are a hospital foundation raising $2M a year in ‘fundraising Revenue and your total expenses are $1M … your ROI is 2X or 100%; and your cost of fundraising is 50%.
  • There are two ways to increase your ROI and decrease your cost of fundraising:
      Increase the Numerator (Revenue)
      Decrease the Denominator (Expenses)

In our For Impact world, our own benchmarks are as follows:

  • 3X is minimum model/benchmark.
  • 4X is great.
  • 5X is something you should be very proud of.
    ***If you’re running a ‘Campaign’ within an existing development operation or as a separate initiative, I believe the cost of fundraising should be a ‘nickel‘ (five cents on the dollar). That would give you a 20X ROI.

If you are a For Impact leader, senior staff, executive director or a board member … I hope the above gives you some sense of comparison. Read more

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April 9, 2014 | Tom Suddes

The Dramatic Secret to Completing an Overwhelming Project–Fast

We have worked with the Abbey Theatre in Ireland and I have been backstage a number of times. And, I am also an infrequent but big-time lover of watching just about any Broadway play.

I thought this great article in Inc. by Kevin Daum, The Dramatic Secret to Completing an Overwhelming Project–Fast was superb. In essence, an eight-step completion process theatre pros have used, as he says, for thousands of years.

Here are the steps. Read the supporting text.

    1. Strip away the unnecessary.
    2. Plan slowly to move quickly.
    3. Grab the right team.
    4. Make a clear division of labor.
    5. Have brief but regular check-ins.
    6. Make use of elves.
    7. Build in time for testing.
    8. Accept what is good enough.

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April 8, 2014 | Tom Suddes

16 Leadership Lessons from A Four-Star General

Thanks, again, for Shane Parrish at Farnam Street for turning me on to General Stanley McChrystal’s memoir: My Share of the Task.

Here are a few of the 16 Leadership Lessons with my quick application to the For Impact world:

    1. Leadership is the single biggest reason for success or failure.
    Totally agree! Not just internal leadership on funding initiatives but external leadership/champions!
    2. Leadership is difficult to measure.
    McChrystal says, “Leadership is the art of influencing others.” Not about giving an order or managing. In my world, leadership is measured by impact and results.
    4. Leaders take us to where we’d otherwise not go.
    It’s the whole ‘VISION’ thing. And, attitude.
    8. The best leaders are genuine.
    In this case, leadership is the same as sales presentations … both require absolute authenticity.
    16. Leadership is a choice.
    Here’s his quote: “A leader decides to accept responsibility for others in a way that assumes stewardship of their hopes, their dreams, and sometimes their very lives.”

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April 7, 2014 | Tom Suddes

The New ABC’S of Selling

We at For Impact and The Suddes Group love Farnam Street and Shane Parrish. I really enjoy getting my Sunday compilation of articles, books and thoughts from Shane.

You’ve seen my thoughts on TO SELL IS HUMAN from Dan Pink. Shane has a very well-written take on that book and Pink’s thoughts.

The ‘New ABC’ is a reference to Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. Baldwin’s character was about ABC — Always Be Closing.

Pink talks about Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. (I think ‘Bouyancy’ is a stretch to define the ‘B’ word but it works.)

A lot of good, good stuff in this article that will help you better understand SALES and SELLING.

“The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is, you’re a salesman, and you don’t that.”Arthur Miller in Death of A Salesman.

You’re in sales. Get over it. The Old Guy

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