Client Testimonials

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Raising more money than ever before

“We had to start from scratch with our capital campaign and hired Donor By Design to help us. What I appreciate is that their philosophy focuses on strategy first. They provided us with constant encouragement, but were a disciplinarian when they needed to be. They told us the hard truth, even if we weren’t always ready to hear it.

The team has a youthful and innovative spirit. Their approach is more cutting edge than others out there.

Not only did we build a great campaign, but we built lasting relationships.  They were truly partners in our mission and wanted what was best for our Y and our community.

In the end, we raised more money than we ever had in the past.”

Eric Ellsworth, CEO, YMCA of Greater Indianapolis

Practical advice

“The Breakfast Club is a great resource!  Our campaign this year is so much better from all the ideas we got last year from Breakfast Club Live at NAYDO!”

Bess Godin, Director of Development, Central Bucks Family YMCA

The power of a development assessment

“Many times you hire a consultant and wonder afterwards if the money was well spent.  In the case of the development assessment from Donor By Design I believe it was. Their advice will benefit us many times over as we move forward with our fund development.”

David Abbott, Former Board Chair, YMCA of Southwestern Indiana


A focused effort leads to strong annual campaign results

Chicago Letter


An open letter to non-profit CEOs

To my non-profit colleagues,

Donor by Design provided the right combination of strategy, and guidance for what turned out to be a critical step towards the future of the Fond du Lac Family YMCA. Adam Stone, our campaign chair, learned firsthand how valuable their involvement was specifically when it came to building enough interest with donors to reach our campaign goals and ultimately raise the support needed to move the mission of the Y forward for another 40 years.

Originally the Fond du Lac Family Y hired an outside fundraising firm, different from Donor by Design, to conduct a feasibility study and then if things went well guide us in our capital campaign. Our Y was looking to raise $12.5 million and through the efforts of this company the study came back stating that we could raise $3.5 million. That almost took the wind out of our sails. Then the same firm would be asking for nearly $100,000 to conduct this campaign that according to their research would raise $3.5 million on a good day. We knew we needed to make a change, so I asked to meet with Bruce Berglund and lay out why his firm could help us accomplish what three others firms could attempt for only ½ the cost. Beyond the obvious reason that Donor by Design would cost a fraction of what the other firms proposed, here are the main reasons why we decided to ask Bruce and his firm to help.

Donor by Design:

  • Provided on site monthly strategy sessions that focused on our top 20 donors
  • After we finished connecting and securing gifts from the top 20 Donor by Design refocused our attention on the next 30 donors.
  • Developed a strategic timeline that kept our donors engaged allowing them to see the end of the tunnel but challenges them to work really hard to achieve the ultimate goal of raising $12.5 million
  • Developed the step by step planning process, including the grant writing assistance which ultimately helped us secure $1.2 million from the Kresge Foundation. Without Donor by Design we might have had success raising half that support from the Kresge Foundation.
  • Put our key volunteers at ease knowing that their work for the campaign would be strategically laid out for them by focusing on a handful of donors at a time in order to maximize the donation to the campaign and not spread out volunteer base too thin
  • Provided a long lasting friendship that has allowed several volunteers the opportunity to go back several times and visit with Bruce and his firm on other critical campaigns in this community or for simple advice.

In the end Donor by Design ultimately produced a product that cost half the price and helped the Fond du Lac Family YMCA to accomplish our campaign goal. Through the efforts of Bruce Berglund and his firm the Fond du Lac family YMCA is in the business of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Without the help from Donor by Design the Fond du Lac Family YMCA would still be struggling today.

If you would like for your volunteers or Board Members to visit with a couple of our volunteers and Board Members I can set that up as well.


Greg Giles, Executive Director/CEO, FOND DU LAC FAMILY YMCA, 90 W Second Street, Fond du Lac WI 54935