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Asking for Permission

March 6, 2017

By Mike Bussey One of our best pieces of advice for major gift fundraising sounds a bit awkward and unnecessary at first. That advice? Ask for permission to ask. Ask for permission to ask? Doesn’t that add an unnecessary step? Wouldn’t it take a lot less time to present your case, respectfully ask for the […]

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Just Do It

January 9, 2017

By Mike Bussey This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Stop thinking about endowment and just do it!     In a recent conversation about both proposed capital and endowment programs, a longtime church member noted that many factors go into determining whether or […]

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The Power of a Grander Vision

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November 7, 2016

By Mike Bussey Many times, I find myself working with nonprofits who are facing a time of transition. Perhaps their organization is undergoing a change in leadership. Perhaps their community is changing. Perhaps new needs and challenges are calling for a change in programs or ministries. How do successful organizations navigate these transitions? They have […]

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Where There’s a Will…

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September 22, 2016

By Mike Bussey It’s now been five months since Prince passed away at his home in the Twin Cities. The local, national and international response to his passing has transitioned from expressions of loss and grief to controversies and court ruling about the disposition of his estate. Prince’s estate is thought to be valued at […]

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Earning the Right to Ask

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July 20, 2016

By Mike Bussey 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, Mike expands on our axiom: “Earning the Right to Ask.” To read other axiom blogs, click here. I suspect this has happened to all of us involved in fundraising […]

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Who Are Your Best Friends?

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March 24, 2016

By Mike Bussey Thank you for asking, but we’ve already made an endowment commitment to your organization. If you’re visiting with your best endowment prospects, invitations to become members of your legacy society quite often produce this response. And it is gratifying to hear! The challenge is to identify your best endowment prospects – your […]

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Resolution: Define Success

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January 27, 2016

By Mike Bussey A lifetime of personal and professional goal setting has taught me that it is critically important to properly define success before setting goals or making resolutions. By not first properly defining success, I find that I end up with goals that are either unachievable or with goals that don’t guide me towards […]

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Four Ingredients for Powerful Boards

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September 30, 2015

By Mike Bussey Years ago, I attended one of my first YMCA training events, held at the Calhoun Beach Hotel in Minneapolis. The day’s featured presentation on board development was of very little interest to me. The presenter was John Kessler, the President of the Minneapolis YMCA (later the President of George Williams College), and […]

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Priceless Visits

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August 31, 2015

By Mike Bussey The message read: Many thanks for the good wishes. My situation has deteriorated dramatically, and I’m currently in home hospice. For now all is stable. But the long-term prospects are clear and not good. And long-term for me is actually very short-term. The message was from Simon Benninga, the Jerusalem International YMCA’s […]

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Message in a Bottle

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June 3, 2015

By Mike Bussey and Lora Dow Many nonprofit leaders want to begin an endowment development program, but are unsure of where to start. They don’t know who might be a good prospect in their community or among their past donors. How can you tell if someone has the resources and the desire to leave a […]

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Getting to the Starting Line

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April 21, 2015

By Mike Bussey ‘Thank you for getting us to the starting line and for the confidence that we are going to have a successful campaign.” A volunteer was reflecting on the long, complex and (at times) frustrating process his organization had undertaken to determine how best to respond to community issues and opportunities. After an […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership
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5 Myths About Endowment

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March 3, 2015

By Mike Bussey and Lora Dow Recently, we were asked to share a presentation on endowment for NAYDO – the North American YMCA Development Organization. We published this blog on their site as a companion to that presentation, and are sharing it here with our readers. Even if you’re not a YMCA, we think you might […]

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The First Step

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December 18, 2014

By Mike Bussey It’s nearing the end of the year and something is unfinished on your to-do list. It’s something you’ve been thinking about all year, perhaps even for the past several years, and yet you haven’t quite gotten to it. The urgency of operations, annual fundraising, to say nothing of that upcoming capital campaign […]

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Uncomplicated Problems

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June 19, 2014

By Mike Bussey I was hesitant to start reading Michael Oren’s book, Power, Faith and Fantasy: American in the Middle East from 1776 to the Present, thinking that it may be years before I finished. It’s more than 600 pages long! However, having traveled and worked in the Middle East for nearly 40 years, the […]

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Suprise Parties vs Celebrations

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May 8, 2014

By Mike Bussey and Lora Dow At a recent conference, we had the privilege of presenting the advanced session on endowment development. The session was for staff and volunteers with 15+ years of financial development experience and for those who knew the basics of endowment development. In preparation for the session, we reviewed endowment statistics […]

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Expressions of Gratitude

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February 18, 2014

By Mike Bussey I was stunned by the phone call. It was from a board member of a camp that Marcia and I have supported for several years, and it came just a few days after we had made an online, year-end contribution. We had already received an online confirmation of our gift, as well […]

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