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September 6, 2017

By Lora Dow At the 2017 Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit, the DBD team was once again inspired and challenged by incredible stories of leadership and vision. Each year it seems a story will dig into our hearts and not let go. For me, it was the stories told by Bryan Stevenson, Founder and […]

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Mission-Driven Goals

July 12, 2017

By Lora Dow If you’re part of an established nonprofit, faith-based organization, or school, you’re very familiar with fundraising goals. If you’re part of the leadership of such an organization, you may have even been part of setting those goals. How’d you do it? If I had to guess, I suspect you probably took a […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Leadership
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Staying in Touch

May 1, 2017

By Lora Dow Often at the end of a feasibility study, a non-profit is advised to conduct a “positioning campaign” while they prepare for an eventual capital campaign. A positioning campaign helps to change perceptions about a nonprofit’s impact in the community among stakeholders – be they donors, community leaders or residents in general. It […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support, Stewardship
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A Bias for Action

April 6, 2017

By Lora Dow One of our tenants at Donor By Design Group is that we have “a bias for action.” I’ve talked about this with prospective clients and most of them give me the “oh boy, here comes some consultant speak” eyeroll. It may sound obvious, but taking smart, timely action is critical. It doesn’t […]

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Donor Love Languages

February 3, 2017

By Lora Dow This month, the Donor By Design Team has love and appreciation on our minds… specifically how we “love up” our donors. Today’s topic: donor love languages.   Good donor stewardship is a deceptively simple practice. It seems so easy to say thanks and to keep donors informed on why their gifts matter. […]

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In a Snap

December 2, 2016

By Lora Dow Over the past few months, I’ve been in several conversations with nonprofit development and marketing staff about some of the newer social media tools, including the one that confounds and intrigues everyone the most: Snapchat. I suspect that many readers of this blog will only have a vague sense of what Snapchat […]

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Entering the Unknown

October 3, 2016

By Lora Dow 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! Recently, I’ve had the honor to be asked to chair a fundraising committee of a community group. The committee is mostly made up of long-time volunteers, one […]

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Blue Flame Case

August 24, 2016

By Lora Dow In this series, the DBD Team is taking a deeper look at some of the axioms we use when working with clients. In today’s blog, Lora explores our idea of “The Blue Flame Case.” To read other axiom blogs, click here.  In our work with nonprofits and churches, we focus on four […]

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What Hasn’t Changed

June 15, 2016

By Lora Dow For more than ten years, I’ve been talking to non-profits about social media. Best I can tell, the two things you really need to know are: Everything changes. All the time. Social media is and has always been about relationships.   Everything changes New apps and social networks appear every few months. […]

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Three Lessons from the Death of an Icon

May 11, 2016

By Lora Dow I was as shocked as anyone at the death of Prince, and deeply saddened at the news that he may have died without a will. The fact that his estate will now become part of the public record – and that any potential fight over it will be national news – is […]

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Waiting on Lightning

April 25, 2016

By Lora Dow We’ve all heard the stories. A nonprofit executive is surprised by a windfall gift – a generous check from a donor, either living or deceased, that comes as a complete surprise. It is easy to tell the story as if that gift is like a lightning strike from out of the blue. […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Endowment
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What’s Your Why?

April 11, 2016

By Lora Dow Why do you do the work you do? Why do you volunteer? Why do you pitch in? Those are all simple questions that don’t often come with easy answers. But I think that at the heart of the answer for every successful person is “because I like doing it.” Consider this story: […]

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Vision Leaks

February 24, 2016

By Lora Dow   Pastor Andy Stanley is famous for saying “Vision is a mental picture of what could be, fueled by a passion that it should be.” Stanley is a supremely skilled communicator who knows that vision leaks. The energy and passion that surround the beginning of an effort fades. The big picture of […]

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Resolution: Think Like a Donor

January 26, 2016

By Lora Dow A lot of the nonprofits we work with are well-established organizations. They have a good grip on best practices and they execute the basic principles of fundraising well. But just as a start up can shake up a whole industry, so can a new nonprofit teach all of us old hands a few […]

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How Can I Help?

November 16, 2015

By Lora Dow Like all of us, I was stunned and saddened by the news out of Paris Friday night. Coming shortly on the heels of a similar attack in Beirut just hours before, the on-going refugee migration, and violence throughout the world and in our own country, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. How can […]

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Beyond the Hashtag

October 19, 2015

By Lora Dow Around this time of year, nonprofit development staff are abuzz with year-end giving campaigns, plans for #GivingTuesday, budgeting for the coming year and so much more. While all of these efforts are important and timely, I recently led a training session with nonprofit leaders that encouraged them to think differently about how […]

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