Standing on the Iceberg

April 11, 2017

By Bruce Berglund Over the years I’ve had the great joy of working with hundreds of non-profit CEOs/Executive Directors (EDs) and development staff. A few years ago, a young executive director called me. He was frustrated and worried that he wasn’t doing his job. Why? He wasn’t bringing in enough big checks. I encouraged him […]

Posted in: Blog



January 6, 2017

By Bruce Berglund This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Creating and keeping momentum in your campaign.     As I work with clients, I often write the word momentum across the white board or flip chart. This single word helps define campaign success […]

Posted in: Blog


Passing the Baton

14068155 - passing the relay baton

November 9, 2016

By Bruce Berglund During an election season we are constantly reminded of leadership transitions. Many of our clients are preparing for their own leadership transitions. Long-serving CEOs and CDOs are now retiring and welcoming the next wave of leadership to move their organizations boldly forward. We know that one of the most important fundraising axioms is […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


A Chilling Tale

October 12, 2016

By Bruce Berglund This October, the Donor By Design team is tackling spooky situations in development. Join us this month for hair-raising stories and cautionary tales of frightful fundraising! I have the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people as part of my work helping not-for-profits fund their causes. A few years back I had […]

Posted in: Blog


Bet on the Jockey

bet on the jockey

September 5, 2016

By Bruce Berglund   Part of our work and counsel with our clients is to conduct feasibility studies. We have the opportunity to visit with 25-30 top community leaders and philanthropists, asking them about the image of the non-profit, the proposed plans and who might help raise money and/or be donors of the vision. Recently I was conducting […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Leadership is Everything


July 12, 2016

By Bruce Berglund In this series, the DBD Team will take a deeper look at some of the axioms we use when working with our clients. In today’s blog, Bruce reflects on our axiom: “Leadership is Everything.” To read other axiom blogs, click here. One of our first axioms for our firm was Leadership is Everything. We have […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership



feature_tug of war

May 3, 2016

By Bruce Berglund Over the last few years, the term “grit” has been popping up in books, podcasts and lectures. It seems that grit, as it relates to leadership in popular business culture, is associated with themes of courage, follow-through and resilience. I would also suggest that the best fundraisers I’ve had the privilege of […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Checkbooks and Calendars


April 18, 2016

By Bruce Berglund As some of you may know, this past year has been really rough on the Berglund family and me personally. Over the last seven months I’ve lost both my father and my mother. I was blessed with wonderful parents and enjoyed a great relationship with both. As the trustee of our family […]

Posted in: Blog, Stewardship


Seeking Advice


March 1, 2016

By Bruce Berglund Recently I had the opportunity to meet with the president of a large family foundation. We had a great dialogue regarding the value of feasibility studies today. He was quite wary of studies that didn’t involve the not-for-profit staff or studies that only tested the viability of the campaign goal. Rather than […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Case for Support, Leadership


Willing to Wait


January 29, 2016

By Bruce Berglund Being a fundraising volunteer isn’t easy. One of the main reasons why is that it is so personal. It’s you, connecting with your peers, possibly even your friends or family, to ask them to be generous towards a cause you believe in. For even the most passionate volunteer, the experience can be […]

Posted in: Blog


Resolution: Make It Matter


January 4, 2016

By Bruce Berglund This January, the Donor By Design Team is offering a series of resolutions: Strategies and commitments to enhance your ability to connect with donors and generate support for your important work.  As we partner with our nonprofit clients, one of our first tasks is to review their case for support. Bill Hybels, Sr. […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support


Annual Always Wins


November 10, 2015

By Bruce Berglund There is a dangerous fallacy in the world of financial development: The idea that running a capital campaign will mean a decrease (or worse a stoppage) in your annual campaign. There is no competition between capital and annual fundraising. You know why? Because annual always wins. When sitting with a donor, should […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital


What to Do with a No


September 2, 2015

By Bruce Berglund Nearly every big ask in my career as a staffer and consultant – whether it be an ask for a lead gift or a key leadership position – started with a no. For example: Would you and your family consider a lead gift of $____ for this campaign? No.  Would you consider serving […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital


Connecting Past and Future


August 18, 2015

By Bruce Berglund   Many of the nonprofits we work with find themselves in a unique and delicate situation: they are changing or replacing a beloved historic building to make way for a new facility. While their reasons are sound – greater accessibility, lower maintenance costs, more efficient operating costs – it can be difficult […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital


Making Leadership Less Lonely


July 20, 2015

By Bruce Berglund One of the more interesting trends we’ve noticed in capital campaigns is a shift in leadership structure. Instead of individual chairs, we’re commonly seeing co-chairs, tri-chairs, honorary chairs and more. While this may seem like a suspect idea at first – if everyone is in charge, no one is in charge – […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Climbing Out


June 16, 2015

By Bruce Berglund In their eagerness to get a building opened, or as a result of calamitous economic changes, too many nonprofit boards have found themselves with more debt than their organization can bear. When your “customer” becomes the bank rather than the community, it’s time get serious about reducing debt. Not all debt is bad. […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital