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


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


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 […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


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


The Myth of the Bigger Slice


April 13, 2016

By Dan Maier Unless you live in a cave, you will have noticed it is election season in the U.S. Whatever your political – or apolitical – persuasion, you probably are agog at the amount of money raised by the political candidates and how quickly it is spent. Poof. When you see media accounts of […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


What’s Your Why?

feature_homeless veteran

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: […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Maximizing Professional Development


April 4, 2016

By Jan Brogdon Those of you familiar with our work know how fond we are of Seth Godin’s “The Dip.” His concept of the dip – the place where all the energy and excitement of our exciting new project or campaign starts to fade – is relevant in all sorts of endeavors, including: When we […]

Posted in: Blog


Why Money Matters


March 28, 2016

Over the course of the past year, we’ve partnered with NAYDO (North American YMCA Development Organization) to produce a series of podcasts to help YMCA leaders expand their fundraising and leadership abilities. With their permission, we are sharing those podcasts with you. While the podcasts were created for YMCAs, we think any nonprofit, church or […]

Posted in: Blog


Who Are Your Best Friends?


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 […]

Posted in: Blog, Endowment


Is Your Vision Big Enough?


March 22, 2016

By Dan Maier As a sufferer of myopia since the 3rd grade, I’ve been wearing glasses a long time. Perhaps it’s my nearsightedness that has me often trying to focus on the trees and missing the forest – the big picture. But, while the details are important, it’s the bigger vision that inspires. I came […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support


Leadership Is Everything


March 16, 2016

By Journey Johnson One of our core beliefs at Donor By Design is “Leadership is Everything”. I have found this to be true in many aspects of both personal and organizational life. Whether it’s finding the right executive director, or appointing the right volunteer to head up an important task force, recruiting the right coach or […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership


Are You Listening?


March 15, 2016

By Thom Peters Over the years, I’ve had a chance to meet some really outstanding and wonderful people, including many captains of industry. If all my exposure to successful business folks was from what I hear through the media, I would never realized that there are so many truly servant leaders out there. One such […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Beyond the Bricks


March 10, 2016

By the Donor By Design Team   February 29, 2016 was truly a day of community-wide celebration in the heart of downtown Kokomo, Indiana. YMCA volunteers and staff, city and county officials, business leaders and Y members gathered to celebrate the grand opening of their new YMCA facility. The event marked the culmination of years of […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership


Hidden Agendas


March 8, 2016

By the Donor By Design Team Our board just isn’t a fundraising board. We hear that feedback from nonprofit leaders – both staff and volunteer – nearly every day. Whether it’s said with regret or with frustration, nonprofits, schools and churches are clearly puzzled as to why their board seems disengaged or focused on less-important […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


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


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