The Special Events Business

March 23, 2017

By Danny Maier Part 1 of 2 Are you in the special events business or a fundraising professional? So asked one of my mentors in a moment of exasperation. Too often we complain about the lack of a “philanthropic culture” at [insert your charity name here]. We are mystified as to why we can’t get […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


Building a Winning Team

January 23, 2017

By Robin Jordan This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Build a winning team.   For the past few weeks, NFL teams have been in a show down to compete in the big event – the Super Bowl. The preparation for this event, […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


Rethinking the Annual Campaign


December 7, 2016

By The DBD Team Recently, Bruce Berglund from our team interviewed Abby Farris Rogers from the YMCA of Greater Richmond as part of the NAYDO 365 podcast series. With their permission, we’re posting it here as well because the conversation challenges the way many organizations think about their annual campaign.   While Abby’s remarks come […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


How to Face Down a Monster

October 17, 2016

By Robin Jordan 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!   The thought of asking for money can be intimidating and overwhelming. The planning and work that it takes to prepare for a successful campaign can often […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital


Harvest Time


September 26, 2016

By Michele Goodrich It’s harvest time in many parts of the country. Farmers and backyard gardeners are reaping the fruits of their labor. Planning for harvest time starts months in advance, followed by long days of preparing the soil, planting the seeds, and tending the plants. If the weather has cooperated, all that time and […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Stewardship


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


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


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


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


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 […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


Connecting Past and Future


December 7, 2015

By the Donor By Design Team Recently, we had the pleasure of listening as Katie Trippi, a camp volunteer-turned-staff person from YMCA Camp Echo, shared her insights on finding and engaging alumni with a group of camps. While not all of our readers have facilities, or organizations with participants who might become donors, we still think the […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Stewardship


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 […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Leadership


Annual Always Wins


November 10, 2015

By Bruce Berglund There is a dangerous fallacy in the world of financial development: The idea that running a capital campaign will mean a decrease (or worse a stoppage) in your annual campaign. There is no competition between capital and annual fundraising. You know why? Because annual always wins. When sitting with a donor, should […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital


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, […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Leadership




August 10, 2015

By Jan Brogdon I received this lovely donor gift at a recent charter school event. A 4th grade student, Marcus, had selected the word “Seasons” and then used his creativity to paint his representation of what the word meant to him. It really spoke to me personally that day, but it also reminds me of […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog