How to become a leader
Are you itching to make your own dream happen? The Women Rule! experts have some choice bits of wisdom for you.

Fundraising Basics:
5 tips on asking for money

Communication Strategies:
3 secrets of public speaking

Achieving Your Goals:
How to create a million-dollar business

17 terrific websites to start with

Download your packet of worksheets

How to become a leader

For anyone who hasn't asked for money since Girl Scout cookie drives, it can be intimidating. But if you can talk, you can fundraise.

1. Ask frequently, ask big (more than you think you can get), and ask specifically (focus on individuals and organizations that are more likely to care about your project because they have similar values or philanthropic priorities).

2. Avoid cold-pitching whenever possible. You can be more brilliant with your preparation and documentation when a potential donor is expecting you, even if he or she is having a bad day.

3. Protect donor privacy by asking their permission before sharing their information with anyone.

4. Spend 90 percent of your time on the 10 percent of your donors who have the potential to give 90 percent of the money.

5. Keep in mind that, although there's a lot of competition, around $300 billion of philanthropic money is now given away every year.

Next: Secrets of Public Speaking

How to become a leader

If you love to talk in front of an audience, you fall into a minuscule percentage of the population—people like Lisa Witter, who, as a child, deliberately got lost in the local grocery store so the manager would let her say her name over the loudspeaker. Witter turned that extrovert disposition into a career as chief operating officer of Fenton Communications, which provides communication strategies for clients such as and Women for Women International. Here's her advice on how to make an impact:

1. What people want most from a speech is authenticity; you can't project that if you're reading from notes or a teleprompter (which is something politicians don't always seem to get). Have a stump speech perfected, memorized, and ready at a moment's notice.

2. Practice out loud and get feedback from family or friends.

3. Don't thank people at the beginning of a speech. It's boring.

Next: Create a Million-Dollar Business

How to become a leader

Women own 10 million businesses and employ more than 13 million people in this country, says Susan Sobbott, president of OPEN from American Express. OPEN helps women entrepreneurs through a program called Make Mine a Million $ Business. (It provides money via loans and lines of credit, as well as mentoring, marketing, and technology tools.) "Having a million-dollar mind-set includes setting a goal and being serious about it," says Sobbott. "A woman who has it can describe what she's doing succinctly and compellingly, having honed her focus so she can sell it to anyone, whether customer, creditor, or investor. Clarity of thinking is what allows you to cultivate believers who buy into your success." Sobbott's best advice:

1. Figure out what only you can do, then get other people to do the rest. "Women tend to be good at multitasking but have trouble delegating, probably because of their sense of accountability and desire to be involved."

2. Balance passion and profit. "You must advance your cause but have an appreciation for the bottom line. When couples say they're going to live on love, they can get very skinny."

3. Success is driven in part by the ability to manage stress. "Perspective and detachment are critical, which means stepping back from a challenge, looking at it objectively, and figuring out how to make it work for you. If you're stressed, you won't be at the top of your game. Get a massage, read a book, take a walk, but remove yourself mentally from the situation. Instead of being mired in the problem, your energy needs to go to solving it."

Next: Your Toolbox

1. The White House Project ( More information on Women Rule! and various kinds of leadership trainings across the United States.

2. Echoing Green ( Seed funding for social entrepreneurs.

3. National Women's Business Council ( Federal advisory and resource center.

4. She Source ( Database of women experts.

5. Wordpress ( An easy way to start a free blog.

6. Center for American Women and Politics ( Research and data about American women's political participation.

7. Starting Bloc ( Continuing education programs and networking opportunities in corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship.

8. Dream Host ( An environmentally friendly Web site hosting company.

9. PB Wiki ( A host for your business wiki.

10. Social Enterprise Alliance ( Support and networking for social enterprise leaders, both in for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

11. Social Venture Network ( A community of innovators supporting new models of environmentally and socially sustainable business.

12. Investors' Circle ( A network of private investors (one of the oldest and largest in the country) dedicated to funding environmental and social change.

13. National Venture Capital Association ( Venture capital firms that manage pools of risk equity capital earmarked for investment in high-growth, entrepreneurial companies.

14. Center for Social Innovation ( Information and ideas that strengthen the capacity of current and future leaders to champion social change.

15. Deloitte ( A guide to writing an effective business plan.

16. Girl Scouts ( Dedicated to building girls' character and skills for success in the real world.

17. Girls Inc. ( Youth organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.


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