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At the End of Your Rope

October 11, 2017

By Jon Simons As a consulting firm focused on fund development, we field calls daily from organizations seeking advice and counsel on how to raise money for lots of reasons: annual sustaining, endowment, disaster relief, education and awareness, and of course capital campaigns. These days if feels like there are only two types on non-profits: […]

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Coat and Tie

October 3, 2017

By Michele Goodrich A nonprofit executive director (ED) has a complex role with myriad demands on their time. As a result, one of the concerns we often hear from them is that they struggle with having adequate time to develop relationships and cultivate donors. It isn’t that they don’t know how important donor cultivation is; it’s […]

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Emergency vs Urgency

September 27, 2017

By the Donor By Design Team   In our work with non-profits, faith-based and youth-serving organizations and other charities, we often have conversations about urgency, be it in a case for support or a project timeline. For a lot of nonprofit volunteers, the difference between “urgency” and “emergency” is a bit unclear. When it comes […]

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September Shout Outs

September 13, 2017

By the Donor By Design Team We don’t say it enough: we’re so proud of our clients. They do amazing work day in and day out. When extraordinary times come – whether that’s an ambitious campaign or an act of nature – they meet the challenge. Here are just a few of the teams we […]

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Get Close

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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The 3 E’s of a Good Case

August 31, 2017

By Danny Maier I was watching an interview with an Academy Award-winning film director on how he selected screenplays. “I select a story based on the 3E’s; its ability to entertain, educate and elevate the audience.” My wife turned to me, “That sounds like what you want a case to do.” Amen to that. So […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support

 

If You Are, I Am

August 22, 2017

By Jason Fry Each August, the Donor By Design team meets in Chicago to participate in the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit (GLS). Being the new guy at DBD, this was my first experience and I was blown away. The GLS is essentially keynote after keynote speaker for two full days focused entirely on […]

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Being Intentional About Board Development

August 17, 2017

By Robin Jordan As non-profit leader I learned to use summer as an opportunity to connect with volunteers and start my board development strategies. Over the years, I developed a proficient and intentional method that improved my efforts, year after year, in building a stronger group of volunteers. Board members are the cornerstone to successful […]

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From 80/20 to One on One

August 8, 2017

By Dan Maier There was a rule of giving I learned early in my career: you will receive 80% of your charitable giving from about 20% of your donors. This draws from the Pareto Principle, first postulated by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. New studies indicate that as much as 98% of your charitable donations are […]

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August Challenge

August 2, 2017

By Bruce Berglund A couple of weeks ago, I took a long hike. I shut off my phone, music, texts and just enjoyed the varied scenery and wildlife that crossed my path. As I turned a corner I saw two trees standing majestically side by side.           One of the trees […]

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Turning Memories into Legacy

July 25, 2017

By Mike Bussey One weekend nearly a decade ago, my wife and I drove 650 miles to a camp in Northern Minnesota to have dinner with our youngest son. John was a camp counselor retuning to camp after leading a group of five young men on a 40-day canoe trip to Arctic Ocean. Camp tradition […]

Posted in: Blog, Endowment
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Against the Odds

July 19, 2017

By Thom Peters A note from the author – remember, your results may vary. I recently had a chance to stop in Louisiana, Missouri. I had first visited this community more than a dozen years ago, in a former job. There is a reason that most of you probably never heard of Louisiana – its […]

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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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Reverse Mentors

June 22, 2017

By Dan Maier This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow relationships with our donors, supporters and volunteers… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: what might you learn from someone younger than you?    I have a close friend who is a mentor to many people. […]

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Tell Me Your Story

June 19, 2017

By Bruce Berglund This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: how do you learn your supporters’ stories?    I have the privilege of speaking to lots of groups about the art of asking for money. I […]

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Seeing Yourself in the Story

June 15, 2017

By Jon Simons and Lora Dow This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: how do you help a donor see themselves in the story?    “You won’t truly connect with someone until you see yourself […]

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Enduring Donor Love

June 13, 2017

By Michele Goodrich   This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: how do you cultivate enduring donor love?    After a recent Capital Campaign Leadership Cabinet meeting, one of the volunteers asked everyone to stop on […]

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Authentic and Personal

June 7, 2017

By Jan Brogdon This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: making stewardship authentic and personal.    Authentic and personal stewardship. We all strive to deliver it. We know it when we see it. And yet oftentimes […]

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More Than a Vacation

June 5, 2017

By Jim Mellor This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways to look at stewardship… going beyond the thank you note to forming deeper relationships. Today’s topic: connecting with those who give generously of their time.  It seems like everyone is traveling this summer! If you have been an airport in the last few […]

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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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Rebooting Endowment Development

May 25, 2017

By Mike Bussey At a recent conference, several sessions and related discussions focused on ways to revitalize, reimagine and recharge stagnant endowment development programs. And for good reason! Although many nonprofits report having endowment funds, that percentage is declining and very few have on-going programs that effectively inform and invite the organization’s best friends to […]

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Three Keys to Stronger Donor Relationships

May 22, 2017

By Robin Jordan Recently, I attended a conference. The highlight of my experience was reconnecting with colleagues and friends. Even walking through the lobby, every other step was a chance for a hug, a handshake and a friendly smile. We shared laughs, stories and joy. I started to notice my conversations with my colleagues had […]

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The Heart of a Giver

May 18, 2017

By Thom Peters My neighbor Ben is a really good kid. I have enjoyed watching him grow into a fine young man. When I was asked to write a reference letter on his behalf for a college scholarship, I felt no hesitation. And when Ben received notice that he was a recipient, I was honored to […]

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It’s Not About the Pickles

May 16, 2017

By Jason Fry I was recently with a donor who’s been giving to a local charity consistently for over twenty years. Her giving abruptly stopped a couple years ago. In a deeper investigation with her over breakfast she said she just “hasn’t heard anything new” from the charity in a few years. I swallowed hard and […]

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