You'll Impact Lives
Several years ago, in cities across the United States and Canada, I started to hear about these groups popping up called, “100 Men Who Give A Damn.” The premise was simple. Once each quarter, so four times per year, the 100 members would meet, each write a check for $100, and hear the pitch from three local charities, as to how it could be benefitted by the group’s donation. Then there was a vote. The charity that presented the best case for the funds, would receive a check for $10,000 (100 members x $100 check = $10,000 donated). Over the course of a year, these 100 members would make a $40,000 impact in their community. The concept was brilliant. Simple. But the donation alone, in our opinion, doesn’t do enough. Further, just meeting 4 times per year doesn’t foster strong relationships. If you’re going to join a group of 100 Leaders "who give a damn,” there should be ample opportunities to get to know one another. In my own life, the people who have impacted me most, are other business minds. Entrepreneurs. Folks, who dare to think different, as a means to solve diverse, interesting problems for the betterment of mankind. And men, women, doesn’t matter. This isn’t a fraternity or sorority. It’s an Impact Club. All great minds, with authentic intentions, are welcome. Together, as Impact "venture capitalists," we are investing in the story of our Community. In addition to the $40,000 impact we make each year, the result of a $100 check, per member, per quarter—Impact Club is about much more.
You'll Inspire Others (Including Kids)
People talk about giving back and making Impact. But then their actions do not match their words. They always have an excuse. “When I’m richer.” “When I have more free time.” But what these people don’t understand is—making Impact (in the life of another, in our community) isn’t about being rich. Or committing hours or weeks to a cause. Impact, is about doing what you can, with the current resources and time that you do have. Further, leaders lead by example. The greatest Impact you’ll ever make, is not the $100 check you write, once per quarter, to be a part of the Impact Club™. The greatest impact you’ll ever make, is by inspiring others to do what you’re doing. And that happens, most often, when they SEE and HEAR what you’re doing. Society is filled with people who talk about their intentions. Those people never inspire anyone. The people who are an inspiration, are the people who make sacrifice, if need be, to do good in the world. With the Impact Club™ —our Mission, our Purpose—is to create a Chain of Inspiration. Like I said, Leaders lead. Are you a true Leader? You have to go first. Prove to others you’re out to make an Impact, and I guarantee you’ll inspire at least one other to join you in your quest to make a difference. In fact, are you a parent? We encourage all members to bring their kids to each quarterly vote. Let them hear the presentation of each charitable organization. Allow them help you cast your vote. As parents, our greatest achievement is to inspire our kids in the right ways! (We even arrange a photo opportunity for all the kids and young adults in attendance, holding the donation check, to document their journey of giving back to make an Impact.) Folks, our community needs you? We need more Leaders.
You'll Be Part Of A Local Movement
Every movement starts with one. Then two. Then word travels a little faster. Then three. Then Four. And in the early going, people need to be convinced. They need to be pushed. They think to themselves, “Why should I join? What can we do? There’s just four of us.” But somehow those first four find a way to inspire that fifth and sixth person. And now there’s momentum. Before you know it. There are 10 leaders, who believe. Words travels faster. They inspire 10 more. Now there’s 20. Each adding another link, another member, to the Chain of Inspiration. Then there’s 30. Then there’s 40 members. And now that $100 check (multiplied 40 times) doesn’t seem so small. And family and friends of those founding 40, they start to ask questions. “What is the Impact Club™? What do you do, how does it work? How can I be a part of it?” And now instead of writing $4,000 checks. The group, because of you, and your inspiration to others, is writing checks for $6,000 and $7,000. The photo of the group, donating the check, becomes the foundation of a publicity campaign to inspire more. Local news outlets thrive on telling the stories of their local community leaders. Before you know it, what started as an idea and the founding 4, then 10, then 20 members, becomes a 100 members strong. And every quarter, one $10,000 check after another is being written to benefit kids and families in our community. (Update: There are now 47 Impact Club™ Chapters throughout the United States and Canada – each group, each member committed to inspiring and impacting the lives of others).
You'll Gain Publicity Attention
Have no doubt, our mission is to write big checks (for authentic reasons) to impact lives in our community. Kids need us. Families need us. The poor need us. Our homeless need us. Veterans need us. People are suffering their ass off right now, including kids going to bed hungry, that we could help. But in order to do that, we have to think like entrepreneurs. A bleeding heart alone, won’t do. The great charities I’ve studied, yes, they give back and make tremendous impact. But they’re more “business” than charitable organization. They have marketing budgets, and detailed event plans. They have outreach. They have social media managers. They have teams that execute direct-mail. In fact, I want to share the secret of how Smile Train® achieved a 46% increase in fundraising.
- The Experiment : Back in 2008, Brian Mullaney of Smile Train had a crazy idea to send out hundreds of thousands of letters (yes -- letters) to over 800,000 households. The organization's CMO, Brian Dearth, explained the idea further: "We provide free surgery to cure children of cleft palate that is permanent. So this is a way for us to convey the permanence. We provide donors with a similar opportunity to make a permanent change and be done with it."
Before it risked losing a large amount of its contact list, Smile Train did a test campaign with 150,000 households, sending half of the group a letter that said if they donated once to Smile Train, the organization would never ask them to donate again. The response was very promising - those who received the "once-and-done" letter donated $22,728, while those who received a standard letter donated $13,234.
And that’s not all: Out of all those who received the once-and-done letter, only 39% indicated that they never wanted to be contacted again. That 39% only received a thank you letter with a receipt for their donation and a picture of a child that was helped by the organization. That left 91,500 donors who indicated they wanted to either receive limited communications or regular updates from Smile Train after making a donation.
With the encouraging results from the test campaign, Smile Train felt confident that launching the experiment with its full list of 800,000+ households would be successful ... and it was. The once-and-done group donated $260,783, while the standard letter group donated $178,609.
(With these great results, Smile Train now uses this tactic for all of its direct mail campaigns to recruit new donors.)
Did you catch how they did it? Of course you did. They thought about the ‘challenge of fundraising’ as only an entrepreneur would. To help more people. We need more funds. How “are we going to do that?” This spawned the test of a new offer structure. In direct marketing terms, they ran an A/B split-test. They looked at the numbers. They had follow-up pieces. Based on the data, they then formed strategic decisions. My point: They didn’t just hope and pray for an increase in donations. They thought like entrepreneurs. “To help more people. We need more funds. How are we going to do that?” A plan was then put in place to engineer that outcome. Here, at the Impact Club™, we too believe in being proactive vs. passive. We think like entrepreneurs. “To help more people. We need to inspire more people. How are we going to do that?” That’s why Impact Club™, which is part of the Make Impact Foundation™, has partnered with our sister companies, Make Impact™ Real Estate and Northern VA Advice Givers®, a budding media company, to publish two local magazines: Impact Monthly™ and Northern VA Advice Givers® magazine—to distribute our message (to make Impact) to a larger audience. This does two things, 1) It gives exposure to our members and their businesses, if they’re entrepreneurs, or if they have a cause they’re fighting for. And 2) By spotlighting those (you) who dare to think bigger and do better, we strengthen and grow the Chain of Inspiration. Which is to say, inspire more leaders to become Impact Club™ members. And see, I told you. This isn’t just about writing a $100 check each quarter. You’ll be part of a movement. That is making Impact and committed to growing even larger, to make a bigger Impact.
You'll Have Fun
As I stated previously, Impact, isn’t limited to the Impact we have on worthy causes. Worthy organizations. But it’s much bigger than that. This is about impacting each and every member of the Impact Club™ as well. And That starts by facilitating opportunities, among members, to form relationships. If I’ve learned one thing about great Leaders, it’s that collaboration is our oxygen. It fuels us. To discuss different ideas, to solve different problems, to be helpful to others, is what makes us feel alive. I know, because I, personally, am one of those people. I could talk business or entrepreneurship for hours. The best part? These conversations happen while doing insanely good things for our community. How about, once per quarter, an organized pub crawl for hunger? Or autism? How about a golf event, to raise funds for our local Boys 9’n Girls Club? I have tasked, Eugene, our Community Engagement Director, with the details of organizing such events. In addition to the good we’ll do, these can be thought of as “think tank” events. Who knows who you’ll meet, or who’ll talk to. So I ask, are you a Leader? Do you have the heart of a philanthropist? Do you thrive on collaboration? If you answered “yes,” my friend, you belong here.
You'll Have An Incredible Network (at your fingertips)
Let’s face it, being the Leader of “anything,” whether it’s a business or charitable organization, or a household, is fucking hard. Excuse my language, but that’s the truth. And the best Leaders, are those with the strongest support network. Who have intelligent people can turn to. When making critical decisions, the ability to pick up a phone, to call someone in your network, can be priceless. I once heard Tim Ferriss, celebrated author and entrepreneur, say, “My network IS my net worth.”
Which I believe speaks for itself, how much he values his relationships. Strategic partnerships. Etc. My own thoughts on this: Find me a successful Leader, I’ll show you a person who puts the prioritization of relationships as their primary objective. Find me a terrible Leader, I’ll show you a person who thinks he can do everything himself. As the owner of multiple companies, which includes a real estate company, a media company, a training and publishing company, a philanthropic platform, and four Duck Donuts stores locally, along with my business partners, our primary focus is the strengthening and deepening of relationships. So if you too value this, being an Impact Club™ member is your passport to an Incredible Network. And, as the ultimate collaboration tool, we use Slack (as our 'member' directory and messaging app), so you always have a contact to reach out to, regardless of the challenge or needed solution. Not to mention, the camaraderie and friendship that comes with shared beliefs and values.
Complimentary Concierge Service
As an Impact Club™ Member, you'll receive complimentary access to our exclusive concierge service. Please don't call us to pick up your dry cleaning. That's not what we do. But if you need access to a high-level business contact, we can probably do that. Our network is vast and wide-ranging. This puts us in a unique position to be incredibly value to our most loyal members. By helping us achieve our mission - to Make Impact, by investing in our community, as an Impact "Venture Capitalist" - it's our honor to provide you, 100% complimentary, our concierge service. How it works: When you become an Impact Club™ Member, in your welcome package, along with your Membership Card, you'll receive an exlusive link where you can submit an unlimited number of requests.