August 4, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Become a For Impact Coach. Build a Lifestyle Business that Changes the World.

Change the World.

Be a For Impact Coach.

A For Impact Coach is a partner who builds his or her own coaching business using the For Impact frameworks and processes.  Coaches leverage the 25+ years of Suddes Group experience and $2Billion+ raised.  Coaches also leverage their own professional network using strategies Tom and Nick have perfected with other partners and coaches.

The result is your own lifestyle business (or lifestyle social enterprise) that’s saving lives, changing lives and impacting lives with the backing of an international brand and network.

The story:

The Suddes Group was founded in 1983 to run campaigns for organizations.  It quickly grew to be one of the premier consulting companies in the world – at one time employing some 50 consultants and working in every sector.  Known for its no-nonsense, sales approach to fundraising, The Suddes Group ran over 300 successful campaign efforts.

In 2001 The Suddes Group launched For Impact.  The aim of this new initiative was to provide publications, training and coaching around the frameworks The Suddes Group was using in the field.

In 2008 For Impact piloted the idea of field coaches.   Tom and Nick handpicked five individuals – each with a background in sales and business leadership – each making the move from success to significance.  For Impact teamed with these individuals to help each design and start their own coaching businesses using the For Impact banner, materials and processes.

Each enjoys a lifestyle business that allows them to work from home or on the road – focusing on one to five organizations each month. Each of the For Impact Partners also leads workshops in his or her area or sector to share the For Impact Point of View.  They find rejuvenation and continued personal growth through their work and leadership.

More about The For Impact Coaching Profile:

  • Has a personal mission to make a big impact and change the world.
  • Wants to run and live a lifestyle business (the model for which is already created) and control his or her own client load and income.
  • Has a ‘life entrepreneur’ attitude.
  • Is a ‘coach’ vs. a ‘consultant’.  Note: Tom Suddes is the boxing coach at Notre Dame.  This is setup for COACHES!
  • Has a business or sales background.
  • Is highly networked.
  • Enjoys leading a room through the For Impact Experience (our non-workshop)
  • Has a strong passion for life and adventure.  We have the boxing coach, a tri-athlete, two mountain bikers, an avid fisherman and a marathoner.  It’s a pretty high-energy team you would be a part of.
  • Special note: Based on the results of our pilot coaches, For Impact coaches should be in the position to allow 4-6 months (avg) before client load / cash flow picks up.

Sound Interesting?  What do do…

Our goal in 2010 is to find 10 coaches that represent a strong fit (location, interest, background, purpose, etc).  We want to begin working with those coaches to help them get their businesses off the ground before 2011.

If you would like to explore this idea, just send me an email To get the conversation started.  Tell your story.

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August 4, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Cause and Case. Get those that already get your CAUSE, then sell your CASE.

Cause: Your reason for existence. The big problem you’re trying to solve or change.

Case: Your approach. Your model. The way in which you impact the CAUSE.

Think about the the difference between CAUSE and CASE.

The goal is to be with people that already understand the CAUSE. Then you can spend time engaging them with the CASE.

Granted, some of you have a very niche cause… or a ‘not pretty cause’. There are people out there who get it. THESE are your prospects.

I watch a lot of organizations try to build case statements and the bulk of the message is about the CAUSE. If someone already gets the CAUSE then you’re wasting your message. If someone doesn’t get the CAUSE then you’re wasting your focus.

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August 3, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Don’t Make Assumptions for your Best Prospects

I’ve had two organizations out to Eagle Creek in the past week (prompting this invitation post) for some strategic coaching around ‘top of the pyramid strategies’. Some key reminders to both organizations — and you.

Don’t make assumptions for your best prospects.

We tend to tell ourselves a story, that there are other prospects out there that we just haven’t located or that we don’t know…. that we’re close to unlocking connections to other connections… and when we do, THEN we’ll really be on-the-road to huge funding success.

Hidden in this story is an assumption that our current prospects aren’t interested or don’t have capacity or simply aren’t going to give at ‘those levels’.

We need to tell ourselves a different story… that there aren’t better prospects on the planet than those under our nose… that these prospects are passionate about our cause… and that the reason they haven’t given is because we haven’t engaged them, illustrated the impact/need and ASKED.

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August 3, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Strategic Coaching at Eagle Creek – our home

Imagine 50 acres of country with a castle in the middle, surrounded by a creek, decorated everywhere by rock sculptures, and creative working areas… that’s our everyday environment at Eagle Creek. See picts

This summer we’ve had a number of social entrepreneurs, executive directors and development leaders schedule time to come out for one-on-one strategic coaching… it’s been productive and successful. We’re going to be promoting it more via the blog and website so readers can envision getting out of the office to this retreat-like environment.

Drop me an email ( to learn more about coming to Eagle Creek for one-on-one coaching or strategic coaching with your senior leadership team. It’s a great opportunity to refresh the batteries, jump start a funding plan and leave with actionable high-level prospect strategies.

The property is pretty awesome through late October, then it starts to get cooler… after that we’re better off to meet up in San Diego!

Note: Eagle Creek is in Columbus, OH… you can fly into Port Columbus or Dayton.

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July 29, 2010 | Nick Fellers

For Impact Collection: On Sales

We’re going to start packaging a collection of nuggets each month on a specific topic. I’m posting our first collection (for August): ON SALES. Sales is a huge part of our message… have a lot of nuggets and ideas/advice/counsel. You can read more about the thinking in the introduction.


Really really curious/eager to get feedback on this. How are you using? Sharing? Helpful? Too much? Too little? Send me a note:

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July 29, 2010 | Nick Fellers

A Sales Process

“You’re in sales… get over it!”

Tom first said this (that I recall) at a workshop in 2001.  He had developed a Sales Process for The Suddes Group several years earlier and we’ve been teaching around this sales process ever since – helping organizations build a sales teams, model and culture.

At a high level this process has two components: PLAN and EXECUTION.

The Plan:

The Execution:

The Plan components are pretty simple:

  • Case for Support: Every organizations needs to know WHAT to say (the message, the story, etc).
  • Presentation Design: And HOW to say it.
  • Qualified Prospects: And of course SOMEBODY to say it to.

Case for Support: This is not one-in-the same as a case statement.  I’m fonder of the prep work that organizations usually pile into the case statement process than the actual case statement – which amounts to a long document that nobody reads.

To me a case for support is about honing in on your message.  It’s about:

  • SIMPLIFYING that message
  • Pulling out the ENGAGING pieces
  • Answering the common questions for your org, your project or your campaign.
  • Communicating the WHY (cause and case), the WHAT (again, simplifying what you do or your priorities) and the HOW you’re going to get it done which includes either a funding PLAN or funding RATIONALE.

Most Case Statements spend too much time outlining the need with statistics.  You’re not going to convince your best prospects of the need (the CAUSE).  You’re going to sell your best on the SOLUTION (the CASE).  As well, I think most case statements neglect to dive into the funding plan.  One common reason campaigns don’t succeed is that top prospects aren’t convinced you have a PLAN to be successful with your overall funding goal.

Our case-for-support-shorthand is around simplifying the PURPOSE (at 30,000′).  The THREE funding PRIORITIES (at 14,000’) and funding PLAN (at 3′).
Presentation Design: It’s equally important to figure out HOW you’re going to engage people with your CASE.  Not PowerPoint’s, not fancy brochures… but experiences, tours, mind-maps… The questions you’re going to ask to create engagement.

In 1952 Walt Disney created a 4′x6′ storyboard illustrating Disneyland at night.  This visual design was what finally secured financing for Disneyland.  As he said, “Bankers don’t have any imagination, none at all.”  After reading this story we’ve often DESIGNED big storyboard engagement tools to draw people into the Case for Support.
Qualified Prospects: Without offering any guidance around our version of PREP most organizations will say they have a challenge with prospects.  We find they are better equipped around prospects than they think… and usually we find they need more work around the CASE and the DESIGN.  Prospects is about three things:

  1. Identifying prospects:  The single best way is to create an IDEAL PROFILE and share this with others to generate names.  Asking for prospects (without guidance) will get you nowhere.
  2. Prioritizing prospects: Build a Master Prospect List – a list of your most important prospects in descending order of importance.  Work from this list.  Live this list.
  3. Strategize prospects: Take the time to create a unique strategy for each prospect.  Don’t ‘wing it’.

In terms of Execution you can repeat again and again.  I could offer an infinite level of explanation I want to reinforce the simplicity and the discipline in following these three steps:

Predisposition: This is not a ‘step’; it’s a mindset.  Predisposition is everything you can do to make it NOT a cold call.  It’s also the part of the strategy to GET the visit.

Presenting the Opportunity: In the sales process most prospects can be ASKED on the first visit.  With bigger prospects you might move to a two-visit strategy – discovery and then the presentation (ASK) but never 6, 7, 8,etc. visits.

A good litmus test to know if there was a REAL ASK:  Could you follow-up and confirm the ask…with a number… in writing?  If not, was probably more of a murky exploration than a real ask.
Follow-up: See my notes on How to Follow-up.  This is where the money comes in.  This is where most organizations drop the ball.  If you can’t follow-up then you don’t need more prospects, you need to get better at following up.

  • Follow-up with the ask, in writing.  Then DRIVE The follow-up with the prospect… ball is in your court.
  • Complete a memo-for-the-record to create institutional memory.
  • Follow-up with yourself – be your own coach.  What could you improve for next time.

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July 19, 2010 | Nick Fellers

Marketing v. Sales

If you’ve seen Tom or me speak… or if you’ve been to a workshop then you’ve probably heard our rant about ‘No More Special Events’.

A bold few always want to challenge this position:

  • “But that’s how we build relationships.”
  • “But that’s how we generate awareness.”

No one ever says, “But that’s our CASH COW!”

The reasons most often heard in defending special events are really tied to MARKTING. Substitute the objections above with, “But that’s how we do our marketing!”

Interesting. And, OK. So that begs a question, what about your SALES?

Think about your development efforts in terms of MARKETING and SALES. Right now we don’t use those terms (Enough? At all?). Use MARKETING and SALES as a simple strategic framework. What IF we all agreed that the one big event was going to be the most incredible opportunity for us to tell our story? What if we didn’t pretend it made a ton of money?

If you’re going to keep your event – in the name of building relationships – then tell me what you’re going to be doing to MAXIMIZE RELATIONSHIPS.

If you decide to keep that event then decide it’s purpose. If it’s to BUILD RELATIONSHIPS then set out to make it the best at doing that… but don’t pretend it’s the centerpiece of your funding strategy.


A reminder: Best way to MAXIMIZE RELATIONSHIPS is 1:1.

And a question: What if we took that time, energy and effort spent on the event(s) and put that into getting great visits and providing customized experiences with our top 10 or 20 prospects?

It’s the function of marketing to produce qualified leads for sales. I can’t remember where I got this definition but I favor it as it relates to our development efforts. Once you determine what efforts are marketing and what are sales then you can ask, “How are we using this marketing effort to find qualified leads for sales?”

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June 24, 2010 | Tom Suddes

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Daniels Pink’s new book. Great writer, thinker.

    • Challenges the orthodoxy of ‘carrots and sticks’ to motivate.

    • Argues that the most enduring MOTIVATION is both EXTERNAL and INTERNAL (both/and). Things that we do for our own satisfaction.

    • Big point of ‘watching’ vs. ‘doing’‘watching’ vs. ‘engaging’!

    *States that someone born in 1960 has watched 50,000 hours of television already! More than 5 1/2 solid years!

    • A great quote/thought:

    “People have always had a lot of FREE TIME. FREE TIME has mainly been something to be USED UP… rather than USED.” (!)

    *Talks about the build-up of ‘free time’ among the world’s educated population as equaling a trillion hours a year!!! How can we treat this as a NEW RESOURCE… a kind of ‘cognitive surplus’?

    • Love the THIRD DRIVE! Pink thinks that our biological drive is around 3 things:

      Drive #1: Eat when we’re hungry. Drink when we’re thirsty. Etc.

      Drive #2: Respond to rewards and punishments in our environment.

      Drive #3: We do things because they’re interesting and because they’re engaging and because they’re the right things to do and because they contribute to the world. (!!!)

      “Our Third Drive, intrinsic motivation, is the most powerful.”

    • Here’s a quote much like Drucker’s “ABANDON” thoughts.

    “Organizations that are founded to solve problems end up committed to the preservation of those problems.” WOW!

Special Note: What I love about the Third Drive and Pink’s book is that it reinforces the whole idea of trying to find ‘Best & Brightest’! His book is really all about WHY people work. States very emphatically that the new generation wants to be involved in something with a PURPOSE… not just a PAYCHECK!

Where’s the best place to find this? At FOR IMPACT ORGANIZATIONS!!!

(Added from Nick)
Carol just sent me a link to this youtube video whiteboarding Dan Pink’s speech. AWESOME

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June 24, 2010 | Nick Fellers

The Ask as a Dialogue, Not Always a Singular Moment

We wrapped up our annual boot camp yesterday afternoon. 40 For Impact Leaders have flown back to different parts of the country – a few cleared customs to other countries. We have a few message points we focus on in day II, one of them being the meaning of dialogue and the importance of dialogue throughout every moment of the sales process.

Dialogue is give and take. It’s asking questions and listening… actually taking the time to process the answer. Sometimes it’s just a lot of listening. It’s engaging the prospect in the presentation… it’s making the presentation about the prospect, not about what you have to say. It’s also about discovery, using questions to learn real information.

This is all in contrast to a monologue or a moment . A monologue is one-sided, not engaging and fails to build on any information from the prospect. By ‘a moment’ I mean asking and then waiting for the answer… stopping at conversation with the prospect’s response.

As a reminder, there are three parts to every visit.

- The Opening
- The Story (at altitude covering your Purpose, Priorities and Plan)
- The Presentation of the Opportunity (the ASK!)

When you present the opportunity the dialogue continues until you meet one of the three conditions:

  1. You have the commitment matching the opportunity presented. (Eg. You asked for $250K for a project and the prospect has committed $250K for that project).
  2. You have a roadmap for the commitment. (eg. The prospect says, “I’m very interested in helping but have a few more questions first and I would like to make that decision in Q3…” Key idea is that you know what it would take to move toward commitment… you have a roadmap.”)
  3. You receive new and concrete information that adjusts your understanding of the prospect’s capacity or relationship / interest to the organization or project. (Eg. “Nick we can’t make that level commitment.” You continue the dialogue to determine more about capacity and relationship. “We want to help but $20K would be a very large gift for us right now.” You now have new information forming a new rationale – can continue the dialogue to create a wonderful opportunity around a $20K project or $20K/year.)

Apply the conditions above to this scenario. You ask for $100K to underwrite a science program for the 2010-2011 school year. You have a great visit, the prospect says to come back in two weeks for a follow-up and a decision. You have your roadmap (condition 2). You come back and he says, “I can do $10K”.

This is A commitment but it doesn’t satisfy the conditions.

  1. Does not address THE ask. $100K for Science Program. He hasn’t said yes or no.
  2. You don’t have any information about whether or not you can get to $100K. No roadmap.
  3. You don’t know if he’s saying he doesn’t have $100K or if he’s only 1/10th as interested as you thought.


“That’s fantastic. When we were last together we discussed the program. Would it be possible to talk about funding the entire program?”

CONTINUE THE DIALOGUE until one of the three conditions is met.

There are countless ways to ask the key is to realize the dialogue is not over. If you get this concept (and you’re already asking) it will triple your results – at least.

For thinking’s sake: Would it be easier to tag on a few more questions to someone that you’ve worked months to see, strategize and ask? Or, would it be easier, to do that entire process ten more times?

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June 18, 2010 | Nick Fellers

The Unreasonable Institute

I want to… I need to… direct your attention to The Unreasonable Institute.



Pretty much that’s all I need to say. Two co-founders from the Institute (Nikhil and Teju) attended our boot camp last summer when UI was an early idea. We all remember them for their boundless enthusiasm. They’re also incredibly smart — I had to tell Nikhil to speak in plain English. He used too many big words… that’s my only knock on these guys… they’re too smart.

Here is what they do — on a napkin.

This summer some 20 social entrepreneurs from around the world have gathered for nine weeks at Unreasonable Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Tom, Kerry and I will each take turns as ‘Unreasonable Mentors’. Kerry was with the team over the Memorial Day weekend. Tom is out there as I type this and I’ll be heading out sometime in July.

Watch the ten minute video below from Unreasonable TV. It’s incredibly well produced like everything else at the Institute. These guys know how to execute. I have a high regard for everything they’re produced so far and it’s early going.

Unreasonable TV: Episode 1 – Unreasonable Beginnings from Unreasonable Institute on Vimeo.

Unreasonable Series: Episode 1 – The Beginnings from Unreasonable Institute on Vimeo.

Don’t blink! Look for Kerry at 5:50.

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