Taking Care of Your Superhero

July 25, 2013

By Bruce Berglund Frequently in my work with non-profit leaders, I see a board or campaign committee come to a strange impasse. They stop actively seeking solutions and start waiting for a superhero: a donor whose 7- or 8-figure gift will put their campaign over the top. Certainly many donors seem like superheroes to the […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership, Stewardship


The Switch

June 20, 2013

By Bruce Berglund Much has been made about the upcoming (or perhaps even ongoing) intergenerational transfer of wealth. As the largest generation moves into their final decades, their assets will be passed down to younger generations at an unprecedented rate. For years, charities have been pondering how to take advantage of that enormous shift in […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Stewardship


Leading in Crisis and Concern

April 18, 2013

By Bruce Berglund   On Tuesday, I received a note from Jack Lund, President and CEO of New York City’s YMCA. For years he has been a trusted colleague, advisory council member and friend. He shared with me a message that he sent to his 4,000 Y staffers in response to the tragedy at the […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Efficient vs. Effective

March 1, 2013

By Bruce Berglund Are you being efficient or effective? The choices we make often determine the course for our fundraising success – or lack thereof. As I work with clients, I often point out that the strategy they are considering is highly efficient, however it might not be as effective at producing their desired results. […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership, Stewardship


It starts with a “No.”

February 6, 2013

By Bruce Berglund There is perhaps no more crushing feeling for a campaigner than to be told “no” by someone who they were sure was going to give. I’ve seen it happen so many times… and then I’ve watched the stages of grief played out right before me: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Campaign teams […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital


Love ‘Em Up

January 23, 2013

By Bruce Berglund Valentines Day is just around the corner. This is such a wonderful opportunity to reach out to your donors and volunteers and let them know how much you truly love them. So often we have the best of intentions, but then February 14th comes and goes as a lost opportunity. Identify your […]

Posted in: Blog, Stewardship


Resolutions That Matter

January 7, 2013

By Bruce Berglund It’s that time of year: time for resolutions. I want to challenge those of us who help raise resources for the organizations we love. Part of keeping resolutions is making them simple and attainable. Let me suggest the following resource development resolutions for 2013: Focus on the “why” and not the “what” […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Leadership


Take Time to Think

November 12, 2012

By Bruce Berglund Recently I had the opportunity to speak to the Brentwood Family YMCA board of directors.  The meeting was as the Scarlett Leadership Institute, which is a fascinating organization and I encourage you to learn more about them. Posted throughout their facility are posters with leadership quotes.  These three caught my attention:   […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Leadership


Here to There

August 29, 2012

By Bruce Berglund A few weeks ago, the Donor By Design team had the privilege of attending the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit, where Bill Hybels talked again about the concept of leaders taking their organizations from here to there. It sounds easy doesn’t it? Not so much! It struck me that in the […]

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The Yellow Shirt

July 24, 2012

By Bruce Berglund Recently, I had the pleasure to talk with a volunteer who told me an interesting story. As a youth, he tried out for the football team.  He wasn’t very big, and he wasn’t very fast, but he could throw.  As you might guess, the coach made him the quarterback. During practices, quarterbacks […]

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July 10, 2012

By Bruce Berglund My travel schedule allowed me to spend last night in Kansas City, MO. Kansas City is proudly hosting the 83rd annual All Star Game and tonight is the big game. The hotels are full and Kansas City is offering up its famous hospitality with a side of BBQ. Kauffman Field is just […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Disruptive Technology

June 6, 2012

By Bruce Berglund Those of you who know me, know that I like my tech gadgets.  And while there is something undeniably cool about picking up the latest Apple tool or downloading a great new app, there’s a bigger reason that I like these gadgets. I like disruptive technology. The idea of “disruptive technology” predates […]

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Grassroots 2.0

March 21, 2012

By Bruce Berglund Community campaigns have come a long way. You can blame it on technology or the changing lifestyles of American families, or simply the speed at which information travels these days, but one thing is for sure: “face to face” doesn’t look the same anymore. Some organizations are intimidated by this new reality […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital


Law of Lateral Recruitment

March 2, 2012

By Bruce Berglund One of the key things that we look at when doing a feasibility study for a capital campaign is the strength of the board.  One of the ways we measure that strength is by analyzing the board’s ability to “give and get.” While it’s critical that an organization heading into a capital […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital


What Fills Your Bucket?

February 2, 2012

By Bruce Berglund I get to spend a lot of time with volunteers and staff at great nonprofits doing critical, life-changing work in their communities.  I marvel at their energy and commitment because, to put it bluntly, it’s really hard work. Whether it’s the dip in the middle of a capital campaign, the competing needs […]

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Lessons for the New Year

January 2, 2012

By Bruce Berglund Recently one of my clients asked me to produce a short list of lessons learned in 2011.  I’m sure there are more to add to the list, but these were the principles that leapt to mind for me.  Some of them I knew before, but everything I saw last year just reinforced […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership


Willing to Lead

October 28, 2011

By Bruce Berglund As many of you know, I am very passionate about leadership and its affect on our ability to achieve our fundraising targets and, more importantly, our organization’s mission. Over the course of the next several months, I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to some leaders who are using their […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


How To Be First In Line

October 20, 2011

By Bruce Berglund What do you think this graph represents?  An EKG?  A representation of Jersey Shore relationships?  Actually this graph represents the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the last month.  The volatility of the stock market has been quite remarkable, and more than a little unsettling for many of us. Don’t let the recession […]

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Up Close and Personal

August 15, 2011

By Bruce Berglund We recently dropped off both of our kids at YMCA Camp Minikani.  As a firm, Donor By Design has made a huge commitment to camping.  Personally, I have delivered countless talks and trainings to camp staff and volunteers.  All of that training curriculum about engaging camp alumni, designing best-of-class programs and engaging […]

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Frumpy Campaigns

July 22, 2011

By Bruce Berglund There are some campaigns that get volunteers and staff excited.  It’s always energizing to build a new building, add on to a current one or create something new.  There’s nothing like architectural renderings and floor plans to inspire a team into action. But sometimes we’re tasked to raise money for decidedly less […]

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June 29, 2011

By Bruce Berglund Last week I had the privilege of visiting the Atchison Family YMCA, which is part of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.  This YMCA has been proudly serving Atchison, Kansas for nearly 100 years!  This grand building may be nearing the end of its useful life, but the spirit of the this […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership


Pyramids, Pagodas and Champagne

May 26, 2011

By Bruce Berglund Over the years I’ve worked on many capital campaigns and I’ve used a lot of metaphors to describe how the gifts to a campaign tend to break down. The traditional metaphor is that of a pyramid, or two interlaced pyramids.  You’ve probably seen this before: The idea is that the largest gifts […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital


Engaging Members Through Generosity

April 20, 2011

By Bruce Berglund Board and member engagement are two topics that I am asked about almost every day.  We all agree that there is great philanthropic potential in our membership.  After all, these are the people who regularly access our facilities, our programs and should be most closely connected to our mission. As member engagement […]

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Working Together to Change a Community

April 1, 2011

By Bruce Berglund It’s not unusual during a capital campaign for staff and volunteers to contemplate how a local corporation might support their efforts. A great example of a local company taking that kind of initiative to make a positive change in the community is happening in Racine, WI. Late last year, Diversey Inc, together […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership