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Mission Control, FEARless Leaders & Sips to Pitch

Weekly eNews Blog: November 13, 2017


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November 13, 2017 0 comments

48 Years Later And We’re Still Wondering . . .

What message was David Bowie trying to convey?

Among the various theories in circulation, one offers a simple explanation: when venturing off into a space unknown (be it as a founder, entrepreneur, or someone with a bright idea), it always helps to have a support system, or right hand, to help keep the mission in control.

With Give Miami Day just around the corner (i.e., 2 days, 13 hours, 23 minutes and 32 seconds away according to the countdown clock), we’re curious about how purpose driven organizations—non-profit, social enterprise, and traditional corporates alike— can stay focused on their mission, yet still do well by doing good.

So this week, we’re making a list of questions, ideas, and thoughts that might help you identify a pathway around or through obstacles currently blocking control over your mission.

What’s Your Purpose:  In Adam Braun’s memoir about the exponential growth of Pencils of Promise, he coins a new term for non-profit organizations: “for purpose” companies.  Not only did this mindset shift move the focus away from defining his organization as “non” or somehow “less than” a real company, but it also opened up new avenues to access investors and value-aligned partners, instead of donors.

KISS: We’ve said it before, but the Keep-It-Simple-Stupid acronym from grade school has universal application.  Do you make it easy for your supporters to understand what they get for the money? A simple rule of thumb: if a third-grade student can articulate the value proposition of the service or product you offer, then you’re on the right track.  Break down cost-to-service, or cost-to-impact associations so that they are accessible to broader constituency.  Then sit back and see how much you increase your donor base.

Don’t Keep It In The Closet: Chances are that you won’t share your social security number or credit score with anyone, not even me. But, when you’re a purpose driven venture, advancing your social mission doesn’t stop at the bottom line.  Attendant to quantifying social good ought to be an effort to be radically transparent about your finances– that is, the financial health of your organization.  Don’t be afraid to make available online your financial statements, which will make it easier for your investors to do their due diligence. An another thing, don’t worry too much about compensating team members with what they’re worth.  If not, they will take their talents elsewhere (maybe to Sobe?).  And, finally, just as large companies track every expense, don’t overlook the value of in-kind contributions, including time-value of those sweat equity investments.

Try Before You Buy: If you were buying a manufacturing plant, would you skip out an opportunity to visit and see the operation in motion before closing the deal?  Likely not.  How many times have you asked for a large donation without  first  offering your prospect an opportunity  for a site visit or to serve as a guest speaker for a program or to your team?  Investor field trips are standard practice, not novel inventions.  Why not give one a try?

KPI’s Matter:  Just because you’re a non-profit, doesn’t mean that you can run from those annoying KPIs  (key performance indicators).  In evaluating your impact, consider if your metrics relate to your mission.  Are you counting for the sake of counting, or are you being intentional about measuring the things that really matter?  Be metric driven, but with a purpose.

Many Come, But Few Are Chosen: Drawing from an impressive list of Fortune 500 supporters, including Google, Goldman Sachs, Salesforce, Microsoft, Warby Parker, Estee Lauder, Delta Airlines, American Apparel and more, Braun offer’s sage advice on picking your corporate friends: “don’t dilute your brand” with misaligned partnerships, instead focus on few but large-scale collaborations that provide exponential impact.

Visit the Give Miami Day Mission Control Room during this week’s #ThursdayGathering to learn more about the amazing Miami based “for purpose” organizations participating in Give Miami Day 2017.


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