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Why Trumps What

June 28, 2016

By Sara Luke 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, Sara Luke reflects on our axiom: “Why Trumps What.” There’s a great Ted talk that illustrates a concept we talk about a lot with our non-profit […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support
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Re-reading the Lessons

June 23, 2016

By Danny Maier A good friend recently returned a book I lent her a while back. How many books are sitting in your bookcase that you read so long ago their lesson has faded from your memory? The book, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications by Jeff Brooks, is a simple guide on how to […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support, Stewardship
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What Hasn’t Changed

June 15, 2016

By Lora Dow For more than ten years, I’ve been talking to non-profits about social media. Best I can tell, the two things you really need to know are: Everything changes. All the time. Social media is and has always been about relationships.   Everything changes New apps and social networks appear every few months. […]

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Don’t Settle

June 13, 2016

By Thom Peters 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, Thom Peters reflects on our axiom: “Don’t settle.” Living in a small town, I tend to chose my home repair, insurance and mechanics from recommendations. That’s why […]

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A Tale of Two Letters

June 6, 2016

By Michele Goodrich 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, Michele Goodrich reflects on our axiom: “The best cultivation is a great gift-giving experience.” Recently I was talking with a seatmate on a delayed flight. When […]

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Reinvigorating Volunteer Teams

May 31, 2016

By Jan Brogdon 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, Jan Brogdon reflects on our axiom: Boards Don’t Heal Themselves. During the middle of the most recent economic downturn, I sat in a very challenging Finance […]

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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 30-minute Meeting

May 19, 2016

By Danny Maier A number of months ago I received many comments on a blog I wrote about Patrick Lencioni’s Death By Meeting. That first blog focused on how so many meetings are ineffective, time-sucking exercises. Of course, Lencioni offers several effective solutions so I thought a “Part II” would be appropriate; this time, specifically […]

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Own it

May 17, 2016

By Sara Luke “The dog ate my homework.” “My alarm didn’t go off.” “I hit every red light on the way here.” Excuses. We’ve all made them. But the truth is no one believes them and they don’t help accomplish anything. In fact, they can chip away at one’s credibility. One of the quotes that […]

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Three Lessons from the Death of an Icon

May 11, 2016

By Lora Dow I was as shocked as anyone at the death of Prince, and deeply saddened at the news that he may have died without a will. The fact that his estate will now become part of the public record – and that any potential fight over it will be national news – is […]

Posted in: Blog, Endowment
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Grit

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 […]

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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
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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 […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog
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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 […]

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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
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What’s Your Why?

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: […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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
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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 […]

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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 […]

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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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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
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Vision Leaks

February 24, 2016

By Lora Dow   Pastor Andy Stanley is famous for saying “Vision is a mental picture of what could be, fueled by a passion that it should be.” Stanley is a supremely skilled communicator who knows that vision leaks. The energy and passion that surround the beginning of an effort fades. The big picture of […]

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