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Trust Your Donors

February 1, 2018

By Peggy Vinson When people think of fundraising, they usually are thinking about The Ask – and that can be very intimidating. This month, the Donor By Design Team is taking on How to Ask. Today, Peggy urges us to trust our donors… and the process. We all know it’s important to take time to […]

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Thanking Family

November 1, 2017

By Peggy Vinson It’s November and our minds automatically go to being thankful. We often use this month to thank our donors, but my question is this: When we think of our donors, do we think of our board members and our staff?  Do we ever do anything extra to thank them? I worked with […]

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Keeping Your Balance

May 29, 2017

By Peggy Vinson We’re coming into the summer months and as usual, we want to make the most of these fleeting months. One of the biggest complaints I hear from staff I work with is that they have no control over their work/life balance. I wish to disagree. Earlier in my career, I took time […]

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The Lessons of Failure

April 4, 2017

By Peggy Vinson Are you the sum total of what you’ve accomplished in the past? or Are you the sum total of how you’ve handled failures? Have you ever considered these two questions? For me, when I think about who I am now, it has nothing to do with my accomplishments. Instead, what really made the […]

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Taking Action

January 25, 2017

By Peggy Vinson This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s post is the final one of the series, reminding us that the only thing we need to do is the next step.   Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what […]

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Changing Culture

November 3, 2016

By Peggy Vinson   Changing a board’s philanthropic culture is a big challenge. Convincing board members to become true ambassadors, as well as campaigners, for your organization doesn’t happen overnight, but is one of the best legacies you can leave. Cultural change takes time and consistent effort. Too often, we think of this as a […]

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How to Treat a Friend

September 19, 2016

By Peggy Vinson As we travel the country doing feasibility studies, one thing we encounter almost every time, is a donor who cannot be interviewed because they are upset with the organization for not appropriately recognizing their contribution during the last capital campaign. Donors who give major gifts are showing they really trust you and are willing […]

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The Best Predictor of Future Giving

July 26, 2016

By Peggy Vinson 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, Peggy reflects on our axiom: “The Best Predictor of Future Giving Is Current Giving.” To read other axiom blogs, click here.   In the course of raising funds for […]

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What Not to Stop

May 23, 2016

By Peggy Vinson   Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with nonprofits in crisis. These are challenging times when the powerful mission of an organization runs into the financial realities of delivering that mission. While every nonprofit is a little different in how it funds its activities, there are some things I’ve […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Case for Support, Debt Reduction
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The Meeting Before the Meeting

April 20, 2016

By Peggy Vinson Recently, I was with an annual campaign team. They were planning next steps for their campaign and considering how to present it at the full board meeting the following day. They were so excited, making thoughtful plans to motivate and challenge their fellow board members. Originally, this meeting had not been on […]

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Powering Through the Dip

March 2, 2016

By Peggy Vinson Every non-profit leader is familiar with the feeling: somewhere, about half-way through the campaign, you hit a dip. It happens every year, but I’m always amused at how unexpected this seems to everyone. An annual campaign may not last as long as a capital campaign, but it’s not a sprint. So let’s […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog
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Silos vs. Channels

February 5, 2016

By Peggy Vinson One of the more challenging aspects of annual fundraising for a nonprofit never fails to surprise me, and it’s a by-product of past success. Many organizations raise support throughout the year using a variety of methods: a golf outing, a gala, a direct mail campaign, etc. While each of those events or […]

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More Than Just Filling Seats

November 12, 2015

Many of our clients across the country are preparing for the start of their annual or year-end giving campaigns. Among one of the most important “to-do’s” is to get the right campaign volunteers in place before a single dollar is raised. Most non-profit campaign teams are made up of a few staff and a large […]

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Success Starts at the Top

September 25, 2015

When it comes to Annual Campaigns, the success of your campaign is directly affected by the success of your volunteer leaders. And you, as a nonprofit executive, can have a great impact on their success. The first and most important step is recruiting the right leaders. Who are they? They are passionate for the organization, […]

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Summertime is One-on-One Time

July 1, 2015

Each summer I find that instead of a time of relaxation, work continues at a fast and furious pace. Schedules fill up and I stay focused to ensure I’m spending this precious time in the most efficient way (while still enjoying a little down time with family). As a not-for-profit executive, summer is the perfect […]

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Are You Coachable?

May 6, 2015

By Peggy Vinson I was watching The Voice not long ago, and Lionel Richie was coaching one of the contestants. He said, “If you’re coachable, you’re going a long way.” That really resonated with me. Think about it for a moment. He’s not saying we have to be perfect, but we have to be willing […]

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Foundational Relationships

March 9, 2015

By Peggy Vinson When you think about cultivating donors, getting to know them better and engaging them more deeply in your organization, do you include the leaders of the foundations that support you each year? Some of my favorite relationships have been with the leaders of the foundations who’ve supported my organization. I made a […]

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Is Your Board a Team?

February 11, 2015

By Peggy Vinson “My board members don’t know each other.” “My board doesn’t have time to socialize.” “I haven’t met all my board members.” It’s surprising how often I hear these kinds of statements from nonprofit leaders. I wonder how boards like this effectively establish a strategic plan or expect to accomplish goals when they […]

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Earning the Right

January 14, 2015

By Peggy Vinson As I work with nonprofit staff and volunteer leaders, I often get this question: “How do you ask someone for a $1,000+ gift?” My response is always: “It depends on if you’ve earned the right to ask.” I get a puzzled look and then I share a story from early in my […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital
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Don’t Water the Rocks

September 10, 2014

By Peggy Vinson I recently visited with the staff of a local nonprofit organization. We were reviewing their 2014 campaign and discussing strategies for 2015. As usual, we talked about renewals and new prospects. We also talked about where executives’ and board members’ time is best spent. How do we cultivate our closer friends now […]

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Walking Toward the Danger

August 20, 2014

By Peggy Vinson How far will our leadership opportunities take us? Are we really role models and “billboards” for what our organizations stand for? Are we good at communicating why our organization is critical to the health and well-being of our community, especially in the face of opposition or skepticism? In my career, I’ve watched […]

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The Plan

April 15, 2014

When it’s time to launch a fundraising campaign, nonprofits take time to recruit leaders, identify prospects and craft their case, but often they don’t take the time to craft an actual campaign plan. Perhaps determining leaders, prospects and case feels like a campaign plan, but if you take a moment to think about how you […]

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The Overlooked Volunteer

February 11, 2014

By Peggy Vinson As I travel around the country working with clients, I always emphasize the importance of finding the right volunteer leaders for your fundraising endeavors. These are usually outgoing “ring leaders” whom others rally around. They have a huge impact on campaign success. But lately I’ve realized that in my passion for strong […]

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Resolutions: Changing Thinking, Changing Behaviors

January 13, 2014

By Peggy Vinson I’ve never really shared my resolutions or talked with others about theirs. It always seemed a private thing to me. At the end of each year, I like to think about what I could have done better and what that means to how I will live in the coming year. That being […]

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