SudTake 07-03-021


A [For Impact] Campaign Manifesto


Tom Suddes

For Impact Publishing, 2006, 56 pp., ISBN 1-4243-1689-8


The author is a coach, trainer, consultant, speaker and writer with extensive experience in managing gift solicitation and campaign management.  He has raised over a billion dollars in the last 30 years. He is also the boxing coach at the University of Notre Dame! 


This appears to be the jazzed up official notes from his lectures on managing fundraising campaigns, featuring color coding, extra large print, and unusual spacing for emphasis. It comes with a CD of his lecture and is available only through the web site (or by borrowing it from Roy like I did.)


Suddes’ model is based on three major concepts:

1.      STOP defining yourself in the negative.  Be what you are for…IMPACT.

2.      Impact drives income (not the other way around).

3.      You’re in sales.  Ask!


Regarding boards.  “The ‘Board’ is Not responsible for ‘Fundraising’!!!!”

Every Boardmember has 3 primary responsibilities:

1.      Be a CHAMPION (for the organization).


3.      Make a COMMENSURATE COMMITMENT...  to help Fund The Vision.” (vii)


“Every organization is perfectly designed to get the Results they are getting.” (3, quoting Tim Kight)


“Stop begging for money.  You’re not a charity.  People don’t give because you’re tax-exempt.  It’s all about your: impact/vision/message.” (4)


Campaign relevance is Not about ‘money for Buildings,’ ‘Capital,’ etc., Not another ‘Fundraising Campaign,’ Not about the ‘Competition, ‘Other Campaigns,’ “Current Pledges.’  It’s all about your: impact/vision/message.” (5)


“The Impact – Income connection completely Changes the way we go about fundraising.  In fact, it Changes the way we go about our Business.” (5)


“Hope is not a strategy.” (6, quoting Rick Page)


“A Quantum Leap…means moving into unchartered territory….”  “Quantum Leaps require Failure.  Failure is a sign of Progress!  It means you’ve left the safety of the status quo.  Failure is a resource.  It helps you find the edge of your capacities. (9) [Beware of applying this too broadly, in mountain climbing for example.  Perhaps failure is over rated. dlm]


“Nine Guiding Principles:

Change the way you THINK

1.      Change your vocabulary.

2.      Think big.

3.      Build simple.

Change the way you OPERATE

4.      Act now.

5.      Discover talent ‘n teams.

6.      Focus on relationships.

Change the way you FUND

7.      Do the math.

8.      Commit to sales.

9.      Just ask.”  (10)


Don’t think about ‘survival.’ ‘Woe is us.’ ‘Cuts in staffing.’ ‘A 5% budget increase.’

Think about ‘Your VISION.  Your IMPACT.  Your MEANING.  Your PURPOSE. (11)


Change Your Vocabulary.  “Immediately STOP using all the typical campaign ‘fundraising jargon,’ like feasibility studies, campaign committees, capital campaigns, building campaigns, public phases, silent phase, case statements, etc.” (11)


Move to new terminology like ‘for impact,’ philanthropy,’ ‘message,’ ‘vision,’ ‘involve,’ ‘on board,’ ‘collaboration,’ ‘investor,’ ‘return on investment,’ ‘relationships.’ (11)


Think big.  Focus on your vision.  “People will fund your vision.”  They will send small checks for your survival. (12)


Make your investment plan simple with goals for three levels: leadership investments, priority initiatives, and the membership circle. (12)


The campaign is about action – massive action.  Do something NOW! (13) 


Find the best talent and form them into teams that focus on relationships.  Maximize the relationships you have NOW. (14)


Do the math to figure out how to make it all work. (15)


Commit to sales.  Adopt a sales mentality, culture, process, and attitude.  JUST ASK! (16)


The new model is a Quantum Leap Campaign (QLC).

Forget feasibility studies.  “Get your top stakeholders involved in building the plan for both impact and income.”  The ownership value is enormous.    “You must provide a framework to let your stakeholders help build!” (19)  “Involving your entire stakeholder group is the key to any successful campaign initiative.” (20)


Don’t just focus on bricks and mortar.  Focus on all the ways you deliver your vision.  “Just think about People, Programs and Places as the big ‘3 buckets.’” (21)


“It’s not about a huge ‘campaign kickoff’; it’s about a clear, concise and compelling Message, consistently delivered… over and over and over again!!!” (22)


Move from ‘campaign committees’ to ‘Board/Leadership Champions. (23) 


Don’t send out volunteers alone to solicit.  They are very important, but the staff are the key relationship managers.  The staff make the presentations. (25)


Use a very simple presentation tool.  You should be able to use a napkin with a one-page supplement. (26)


Ask for everything – except money!  Present the Opportunity… to Qualified Prospects or Potential Investors… on a Visit… sitting Shoulder-to Shoulder… to help Fund the Vision. (27)


33 Lessons to Help You Fund Your Vision

1. Attitude is everything.  “Change your attitude … Change the world.” (30)

3. Leaders lead.  “Board, committees, staffs, constituents, stakeholders Follow.” (31)

5. “On Board.”  “Know the difference between ‘ON board and on ‘THE’ board.  A QLC requires Alignment around the Big Stuff.”  Campaigns will fail if the Board or the key investors aren’t ‘On Board.” (32)

7. Focus. Focus. Focus.  Let go of all other miscellaneous. (33)

10.  Get more aggressive!

12.  Engage. Then Plan.  Start with a simple plan and improve it as you Do It. (34)

13. “Reward Great Failures.  Punish Mediocre Successes.” (35, quoting Phil Daniels via Tom Peters)

14. Prototype everything.  Try stuff.  Experiment.  Try it. Do it. Fix it. Test it. (35)

15.  Speed doesn’t kill.  “If there is no Internal ‘sense of urgency’ (Speed)…there will be no External ‘sense of urgency.’ (36)

23.  It’s all about sales. (38)

25. Sales requires ‘measurement.’  “You get what you measure.” (29)

28. Set up a room totally dedicated to The Vision.

29.  Simplify your message.  “If you can’t Say It … on a Napkin … you can’t Sell It!” (41)

31. Share the Story. Present the Opportunity.  To get your board and volunteers engaged ask whether they would rather ‘Ask their friends for money’ or ‘Share the Story?”  “The Past will get you an appointment (visit).  The future (vision) will get you the money.” (42)

32.  Follow up.  Persevere.  57 times.

33.  Just ask.  Just ask.



The ‘Magic’ Napkin

Sketch #1: ‘3 buckets’ (people, programs and places to deliver the vision)

Sketch # 2: Master Prospect List (a pyramid with a stick man in it).  Helps you focus on your top 3 … your next 10 … your Top 33 … etc.

Sketch #3:  Funding Pyramid (a pyramid with a $ sign in it)  The amount you are going to ask at each level of the prospect list.



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