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Fantastic Resource for New Fundraisers

I think a new website, created by The Bridgespand Group, is such a great resource it’s worth its own blog post.  But I don’t think that because of its intended purpose: is designed to help philanthropists make better decisions and get better results from their giving. This website is part of Bridgespan’s Give Smart philanthropy initiative, which also includes the book Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results by Thomas J. Tierney and Joel L. Fleishman (Public Affairs, 2011).

Instead, I think it’s a fantastic resource for new founders to learn about philanthropists — how they think, what motivates them, etc.  Fundraising is one of the toughest areas to efficiently improve because opportunities to learn directly from philanthropists are limited.  Yet, it’s one of the areas in most need of efficient improvement because prospect meetings are high-stakes for new organizations.

The video library with dozens of interviews gives an inside perspective among philanthropists.  And better understanding motivations, priorities, etc. is key to raising money.



Articles of the Week: Making Yourself a CEO, 5 Changes to Nonprofits in 2013, How to Allocate Your Time, and more

Making Yourself a CEO by Ben Horowitz

The article is largely about giving feedback and really well done:

To become elite at giving feedback, you must elevate yourself beyond a basic technique like the shit sandwich.  You must develop a style that matches your own personality and values. Here are the keys to being effective…

5 Things that Will Change the Way Nonprofits Work in 2013 by Suzanne Perry, Caroline Preston, and Cody Switzer in the Chronicle of Philanthropy

How Mike Rothberg Went from Sleeping on Couches to Running a $5 Million VC Fund by Alyson Shontell

You might read this and say “Yeah, he went to Stanford and Harvard, giving him a great network.  He’s basically starting from third base.”  Certainly helps a ton.  But what I love about this story is the bare-bones living and do-whatever-it-takes approach.

How to Allocate Your Time, and Your Effort by Elizabeth Grace Saunders in

One of the better time management articles I’ve read — a ton of great actionable advice.

The rules changed when I started my own business over seven years ago. I realized that doing A-work in everything limited my success.

Articles of the Week: 5 Tips to Become a Master Networker, Creating Company Culture, and More

A round-up of my favorite articles from the week that could be helpful to aspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders, and anyone looking to make something happen.

Become a Master Networker: 5 Quick Tips

Best explanation of what makes the best networkers I’ve seen.  Some of it might feel counterintuitive or counterproductive, but it’s spot-on.

Programming Your Culture by Ben Horowitz

Ideally, a cultural design point will be trivial to implement, but will have far reaching behavioral consequences. Key to this kind of mechanism is shock value.

The Future of You by Thomas Chamorrow-Premuzic on

Welcome to a new era of work, where your future depends on being a signal in the noisy universe of human capital. In order to achieve this, you will need to master three things: self-branding, entrepreneurship, and hyperconnectivity.

Managing Startups: Best Posts of 2012 

Articles of the Week: 10 Reasons People Resist Change, 5 Mentors Every Entrepreneur Must Have, 1 Simple Trick to Creativity, and More

A round-up of my favorite articles from the week that could be helpful to aspiring entrepreneurs, startup founders, and anyone looking to make something happen.

10 Reasons People Resist Change by Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business Review

5 Mentors Every Entrepreneur Must Have by Joanna Lord,

5 Ways to Push Your Company Past the Startup Phase by James Green, Mashable

1 Simple Trick to Creativity — Constrain Yourself by Daniel Epstein,

How Nonprofits Convince Millennials to Give: Customize the Cause by Victor Luckerson, TIME

Gift Ideas for the New Social Entrepreneur in Your Life

A couple of weeks ago I suggested five holiday gift ideas for a startup founder.  Here are a few more:

Management Training Courses

The Management Center does outstanding work. I’ve attended a training and put the lessons to work.  Good for managers at different levels and well priced.  Details and dates here.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option in this area, the book by the leaders of The Management Center, Jerry Hauser and Alison Green, is a must-read.  I had my team read it and I refer to it regularly.  Managing to Change the World: The Nonprofit Manager’s Guide to Getting Results.

And if you’re looking for an even cheaper option, you can sign-up your special someone for their free newsletter.

Harvard Business Review Subscription

90% (maybe more) of the articles are not about social change explicitly.  But as French novelist Marcel Proust said, “The real act of discovery consists not in finding new lands but in seeing with new eyes.”  That’s what the research, discussion of innovation, and lessons from other fields will do for a social entrepreneur and founder.

It’s one of the more expensive subscriptions, but you get both monthly magazine and complete online access.

Fast Company and Inc. Magazines

Want to give a thought-provoking magazine but less expensive than HBR.  These are two good options.

Social Innovation Articles of the Week: Restoring the Soul of Politics, Forbes 30 under 30, Ugly Sweaters, and What’s Your Story

How Technology Has Restored the Soul of Politics by Joe Trippi

The setting is politics, but the lessons are larger — the diminished role of “experts” and the erosion of top-down messaging.  Good lessons for a young entrepreneur in any field.  The money excerpt:

But the outstanding fact of the 2012 election is that the pollsters, consultants, advisors, and political gatekeepers who guarded the old way of doing politics lost bigger than Mitt ­Romney or the Republican Party itself. There is perhaps no human activity where power is so jealously protected as it is in professional politics. The old guard will try to demonstrate its usefulness for a few more elections, and some will doubtless adapt. But its dominance has passed.

30 under 30

Forbes is out with its list of 30 under 30, including the categories of Social Entrepreneurs, Education, Energy, Law/Policy, Science/Healthcare, and more.

Ugly Sweaters

Great idea to use the fun of ugly sweaters to raise money.  Routine activities are important (that’s why they become routines).  But that also means they become less noteworthy and that’s a challenge when it comes to things like end of year fundraising.  I’m always a big believer of applying the creative to the routine.  That’s how to break through the noise and get attention.

Some wear ugly sweaters.  Others don’t wear shoesSome grow mustaches.  One company is selling a mundane product with a hilarious video (7.7 million views!).  And a new advocacy campaign convinced its elder leader (and former Senator) to dance Gangnam Style (coverage in CNN, USA Today, NPR, and 170k video views).

What’s Your Story? The Answer May Land You a Job

Pitching a potential investor or coalition member is very similar to a job interview.  They are sizing you up as much, if not more, than the organization or the cause.  After all, as a leader/founder you and the organization are pretty much the same thing.

That’s why I found this interview with with, Karl Heiselman, CEO of a big brand consulting firm, so interesting.  To the question: How do you hire? What qualities are you look for? He answered:

The first thing I always ask is, “What’s your story?” The way somebody answers that is a pretty good indication of what they’re all about. If they’re just talking about the job, I find that really unattractive. If I feel like they’re being sincere and honest about what it is that they want to do with their life, even if it doesn’t line up exactly with what we want in our position, I find that far more attractive. When you ask people, “What’s your story?” they can answer that a million ways, and where somebody goes with the answer is a pretty good indication of who they are.

In a meeting with potential donors, of course outlining the need, progress, model, and strategic plan all matter a great deal.  But as Alan Khazei taught me, “People give to people.”  Your story of self matters a lot. It’s not a distraction or self-centered to tell it.  It can be the difference between a new donor, advocate, coalition member, or ally — or not.

For inspiration, do yourself a favor and watch Jim Gilliam’s “The Internet is my Religion” — so moving.

Articles of the Week: How Well Do You Take a Punch, Best Productivity Apps of ’12, Emotion v. Knowledge, and Icarus Sessions

How Well Do You Take A Punch? by Fred Wilson (investor in Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, etc.)

Best Productivity Apps 2012 from Business Insider

Startup founders and teams have a lot going on.  Check out some tools to make it easier.  I was surprised to see Asana left off the list. Started by a Facebook co-founder and getting lots of praise.  It’s what I use.

Why Emotion, Not Knowledge, Is the Catalyst for Change by Dan and Chip Heath for Fast Company (authors of two of my favorite books, Switch and Made to Stick — amazing books for anyone who is trying to make anything happen.)

The Icarus Sessions — go present your idea to others in 140 seconds.  Sessions happening around the country.

Articles of the Week: Creating Confidence, Go Local, and Generation Flux

Cultivate a Culture of Confidence by Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Resilience is not simply an individual characteristic or a psychological phenomenon. It is helped or hindered by the surrounding system. Teams that are immersed in a culture of accountability, collaboration, and initiative are more likely to believe that they can weather any storm. Self-confidence, combined with confidence in one another and in the organization, motivates winners to make the extra push that can provide the margin of victory.

Unsolicited Advice for Advocates – Go Local by Peter Loge

The Secrets Of Generation Flux by Robert Safian

Business today is nothing if not as paradoxical. We require efficiency and openness, thrift and mind-blowing ambition, nimbleness and a workplace that fosters creativity.

Articles of the Week: 4 key questions, power of failure, and what’s more persuasive

Four questions worth answering from Seth Godin

Power of Failure by Sarika Bansal in New York Times

What’s more persuasive:  Your track record or your future potential? by Katya Andresen (hint: good news for startups)


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