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The Rule of 3s

The rule of three is a principle in English writing that suggests that things that come in threes are inherently funnier, more satisfying, or more effective than other numbers of things. From slogans ("Go, fight, win!") to films (The Godfather trilogy), many things are structured in threes. There were three musketeers, three little pigs, three billy goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the three bears, and Three Stooges.

A series of three is often used to create a progression in which the tension is created, then built up, then released. Adjectives are often grouped together in threes in order to emphasize an idea.

Our success is largely predicated on our communication style:

Example: The three reasons why we exist if we are human service agencies: to change lives, impact lives, and save lives.

What are the three reasons why your organization exists?

Our campaign mantra: Cast a vision, Staff a vision, Fund a vision

These truisms come in sets of three and often times it is easier to remember three concepts. When you are on a planned, strategized visit with a prospect, your concepts are easy to remember when they come in packs of three!

The 3 P's: People, Places, and Programs…an easy outline of how to communicate the case for support for a capital project.

Take the YMCA's motto: YMCAs build
Strong kids, Strong families, Strong communities

Our case communication depends on:
Where, who, and what

I have found that this one is especially helpful in our major gifts efforts:
The rule of 3 that drives our prospecting:
Identify, prioritize, and strategize

When donors are ready to invest, they often ask: Why is this project important? Who decided that it is vital to our community? What are the financial implications that drive the impact?


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Annual and Capital Campaigns Together

Annual Giving: Challenges and Opportunities

Board Handbook Outline - A Key Resource!

Chasing Away Those Mid - Campaign Blues

Early Cultivated Resources

Finding and Managing Natural Partners

Getting the Visit - A volunteer tip sheet

i team Irreducibles

Overcoming Your Fear of Asking

Qualifying Prospects

Securing the Visit

Solicitation Resources; You Are Not Alone

The Last Investor

The Rule of 3s

Voice of the Stakeholder

About the author...
Author, thinker, and consultant Mario Capozzoli writes for a living. Over the years, his words have been "columnized" in op-ed pieces, ranging from his alma mater's student newspaper to the Glendale News Press, a 102 year old southern California daily with a readership of 72,000. Sister paper to the Burbank Leader and the Huntington Beach Independent, Mario's weekly column ran in the News Press for two years.

More recently, Mario's writings have revolved around professional monographs, knowledge management perspectives, and leadership pieces focusing on the not-for-profit world. His specialty is writing succinct, one-page documents that illustrate techniques, practices, and beneficial resources.

On a personal level, his narratives have been published in local and statewide journals. Mario's love of poetry shows his softer side of the written word.

You will find Mario in the middle of grammar, syntax, and word use arguments and debates. He prefers the Chicago Manual of Style as a usage guide! His mentor is Barbara Wallraff, of the Atlantic Monthly's backpage.