Resolution: Get Personal

January 1, 2018



Written By: Bruce

By Bruce Berglund

This January, the DBD Team is making resolutions to help us be better. Today Bruce vows to get personal. 

Happy New Year! If you are like me, the first few days back in early January consists of cleaning up your office, creating new files, and maybe even cleaning out the dreaded emails that grow like weeds in your inbox!

I’m not big on resolutions. Usually resolutions for me play out like this … my goal in 2018 is to accomplish the goals I set in 2017 which I should have done in 2016 because I made a promise in 2015 which I planned in 2012!

Over the years I’ve migrated to one or two over-arching goals for the upcoming year. One of those goals/themes for me in 2018 is raising the bar regarding personalization when I work with clients and donors.

Consider joining me with some of these non-resolution ideas:

  • Take the time to write a personal, handwritten note. This personalization cuts through all of our electronic noise.
  • Thank donors and staff specifically. For example, when greeting a donor, thank them for their $5,000 gift vs. their gift. Acknowledge their generosity specifically. When thanking staff, thank them specifically for their great work and how it helps move your cause forward!
  • When meeting with donors review your previous visit notes and ask them specific questions about your last conversation. If you learned their child went off to college, ask about that transition. If you learned they lost a family member, ask them how they are dealing with the loss. I’m always amazed how appreciative folks are when I ask these questions – usually followed by “What a wonderful memory!” and comments about how I really care. Actually, I just did my homework.
  • Take a minute and think about the kind of recognition they might appreciate the most. Perhaps being thanked in front of their peers is what really is meaningful (or perhaps not), or a book or small item might make their day. I had a running joke with one of my clients regarding leaves on the front steps of their facility. Knowing they were having a tough week, I sent a big box of leaves with a note. It was personal and was more meaningful than an email or a plant.

A new year is like a blank book, and the pen is in your hands. It is your chance to write a beautiful story for yourself, your donors and your staff.

Happy New Year!

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8 responses to “Resolution: Get Personal”

  1. Norris D. Lineweaver says:

    I loved your reflection on non-resolutions! Now you got me motivated. Must have been ready for reverse psychology. It’s personal. THANKS! Have a prosperous and healthy New Year.

  2. John Alexander says:

    Bruce, thanks for your good post and reminders, and best wishes for 2018 to you and the entire DBD crew.

  3. Thank You Bruce. This is a good message for the New Year. We created a photo book on line with pictures of children in our outreach programs and personally delivered over coffee, lunch or dropping by homes or businesses for our Partner level donors and they really appreciated the gesture. It was great to see the smiles and visit as they turned the pages.

  4. Eric Ellsworth says:


    You always champion this and model this concept! Thanks for your caring and for getting “personal.”