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Resolution: Define Success

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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Resolution: Think Like a Donor

January 26, 2016

By Lora Dow A lot of the nonprofits we work with are well-established organizations. They have a good grip on best practices and they execute the basic principles of fundraising well. But just as a start up can shake up a whole industry, so can a new nonprofit teach all of us old hands a few […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support
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Resolution: Dream Bigger

January 20, 2016

By Thom Peters I’m not great at resolutions. I have great intentions, just lousy follow through. After all my years I have learned that the higher I set my sights, the less opportunity I have to succeed. So I keep expectations low and generally feel better about how things turn out. I may not be […]

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Resolution: Read

January 18, 2016

By Jan Brogdon There is no shortage of things to read in this day and age. Sometimes I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hydrant of information! I am constantly scanning the digital inbox for the next report due date, meeting confirmation, or to-do project. Then, I move to the newsletters, blogs and websites. […]

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Resolution: Unplug and Get Connected

January 14, 2016

A few summers back while on vacation with friends I learned a great lesson. Well…two actually. The first was that cell phones and salt water don’t mix (and that phone insurance is a good thing). The second lesson came a few days later, about 48 hours after the phone-meets-ocean thing. I learned that once I […]

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Resolution: Treasure People

January 11, 2016

By Journey Johnson My resolution for 2016 is to write, call or visit one friend every day. I have become more reflective and nostalgic in my older age. Each time I reflect on what is important to me in life, it always seems to come back to relationships and people. My hope is to connect […]

Posted in: Blog, Endowment, Stewardship
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Resolution: Fear Not!

January 7, 2016

By Danny Maier This January, the Donor By Design Team is offering a series of resolutions: Strategies and commitments to enhance your ability to connect with donors and generate support for your important work.  Fifty years ago, Charles Schultz gave us kids something special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” And some five decades later, three or more […]

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Resolution: Make It Matter

January 4, 2016

By Bruce Berglund This January, the Donor By Design Team is offering a series of resolutions: Strategies and commitments to enhance your ability to connect with donors and generate support for your important work.  As we partner with our nonprofit clients, one of our first tasks is to review their case for support. Bill Hybels, Sr. […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support
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Greatest Hits of 2015

December 28, 2015

We hope you’re enjoying this quiet week between the holidays. We spent some time combing through our web traffic to see what posts resonated most with you over the past year. Are your favorites among the bunch? Blogs that generated the most conversation: Five Myths about Endowment    by Mike Bussey Shifting Sands   by […]

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Rollover Opportunity

December 21, 2015

IRA Rollover to Charity made Permanent Nearly ten years after first approving legislation in 2006 temporarily allowing tax-free rollovers from a donor’s traditional IRA to charity, President Obama has signed legislation making this provision permanent. A taxpayer who is over 70 ½ can now make a direct transfer of up to $100,000 from her IRA […]

Posted in: Blog, Endowment
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Courage to Ask

December 15, 2015

By Journey Johnson Webster’s dictionary defines courage as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult.” One of the more difficult things in nonprofit management for many people can be asking for a donation. Many volunteers or staff are willing to do almost anything for their organization except ask people to support it. […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital
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Thanks but No Thanks

December 10, 2015

By Jon Simons and Lora Dow If you have been in fund development long enough, you may have found yourself in this situation: Early in the cultivation process for a capital gift, we joined a volunteer and prospective donor for a vision tour of a soon-to-be-renovated facility. While touring, the volunteer did a wonderful job of […]

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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
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Gratitude with Every Step

December 3, 2015

Regardless of your feelings about the Duke Basketball team, no one can deny the leadership qualities displayed by Coach Mike Krzyzewski to bring out the best in young men year after year in the arena of Division 1 college basketball. In a recent interview in Success magazine by Don Yaeger, Coach K shared a few […]

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Every Day Can Be Thanksgiving

December 1, 2015

By Journey Johnson The Thanksgiving holiday is a time of family, friends, food and football… and a chance to reflect and give thanks for the blessings in life. My Thanksgiving weekend highlight was visiting my parents. My mom is dependent on a walker after breaking her hip a little over a year ago, making it […]

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Meaningful Work

November 24, 2015

Every November the Donor By Design team gets together for one of our quarterly company meetings. While we have plenty of business to cover, we also take an evening to have dinner, kick off the holiday season and put a bow on the impending end of the year. The nature of our work means we […]

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How Can I Help?

November 16, 2015

By Lora Dow Like all of us, I was stunned and saddened by the news out of Paris Friday night. Coming shortly on the heels of a similar attack in Beirut just hours before, the on-going refugee migration, and violence throughout the world and in our own country, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. How can […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support
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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 […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Leadership
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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
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Instant Gratification

November 5, 2015

While talking with non-profits about starting or renewing their endowment efforts, I often hear: “We would like to develop our endowment program, but it takes so long to provide any payback. We won’t get any money for years.” But is that really true? In my own experience this concern about a delayed payback is a […]

Posted in: Blog, Endowment
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“How do I find a good development officer?”

November 3, 2015

This is a question I often get in my travels and days spent with clients. Of course, the ideal answer to this question is, “you develop a good development officer.” Some of the very best that I have worked with through my years have been homegrown. But that’s not always possible. So what is the […]

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Brain Food – October 2015

October 29, 2015

Halloween is soon here and this month’s Brain Food is full of articles to fill you up without expanding your waistline. UNEARTHING PROSPECTS This article from Gail Perry contains a great deal of wisdom, but this little gem is reason enough to click the link: Your most likely donor is someone who has already given […]

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More Than a Job

October 26, 2015

By Jan Brogdon Oftentimes our blogs lift up the power of volunteers, and make no mistake, the not-for-profit sector could not achieve our missions without them. But as we approach the holidays and pause to reflect and give thanks for the numerous things in our personal and professional lives, I feel compelled to acknowledge the […]

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Beyond the Hashtag

October 19, 2015

By Lora Dow Around this time of year, nonprofit development staff are abuzz with year-end giving campaigns, plans for #GivingTuesday, budgeting for the coming year and so much more. While all of these efforts are important and timely, I recently led a training session with nonprofit leaders that encouraged them to think differently about how […]

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