Asking for Permission

March 6, 2017

By Mike Bussey One of our best pieces of advice for major gift fundraising sounds a bit awkward and unnecessary at first. That advice? Ask for permission to ask. Ask for permission to ask? Doesn’t that add an unnecessary step? Wouldn’t it take a lot less time to present your case, respectfully ask for the […]

Posted in: Blog


Best of DBD 2016: Asking


December 20, 2016

As we come to the end of 2016, we’re taking a look back at the posts that inspired the most conversations on the blog and with our clients. Today’s topic? Asking for a Gift. Asking for a Gift When people say they don’t like raising money, what they’re usually really saying is that they don’t […]

Posted in: Blog


A Chilling Tale

October 12, 2016

By Bruce Berglund 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! I have the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people as part of my work helping not-for-profits fund their causes. A few years back I had […]

Posted in: Blog


The Artful Asker


October 11, 2016

By Journey Johnson “Philanthropy is the mystical mingling of a joyful giver with an artful asker and a grateful recipient in which all three-the joyful giver, artful asker and grateful recipient-benefit from the experience.” Doug Lawson My favorite definition of philanthropy comes from Doug Lawson’s book Give To Live. When philanthropy is hitting on all […]

Posted in: Blog


Earning the Right to Ask

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July 20, 2016

By Mike Bussey 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, Mike expands on our axiom: “Earning the Right to Ask.” To read other axiom blogs, click here. I suspect this has happened to all of us involved in fundraising […]

Posted in: Blog


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 […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Willing to Wait


January 29, 2016

By Bruce Berglund Being a fundraising volunteer isn’t easy. One of the main reasons why is that it is so personal. It’s you, connecting with your peers, possibly even your friends or family, to ask them to be generous towards a cause you believe in. For even the most passionate volunteer, the experience can be […]

Posted in: Blog


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


Change the Request

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July 27, 2015

By Michele Goodrich A relatively common concern among nonprofit executives and development directors is that their board members are reluctant to ask for money. It isn’t due to a lack of effort by the staff members. They provide prospect lists, campaign materials and fundraising training. They set up fundraising competitions, send inspiring emails, make reminder […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Leadership


Perks of the Job


July 16, 2015

By Danny Maier “I hate asking for money!” That’s the refrain we often hear from volunteers and staff alike, especially at the beginning of a campaign. I even heard it from Dr. Ed Miller of John Hopkins Medical School… someone who raised $2.2 billion during his tenure. If you’ve followed our team over the years, […]

Posted in: Blog


Bridging the Gap


March 16, 2015

By Lora Dow A big part of what I do with my non-profit clients is help them to develop and refine their case for support? What’s a “case?” It’s simply a collection of compelling reasons (both data and stories) as to why an organization is worthy of support. You’ve probably made a case for support […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support


The One Question


January 19, 2015

By Charley Shirley “Don’t you think that this is a bad time to try and raise money?” This is one question that comes up a lot when I tell people I help non-profit organizations raise money. It addresses several common misconceptions about fundraising. The Economic Glass is Half-empty For starters, people are generally pessimistic about […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog




November 4, 2014

By Dan Maier Do you need to be an extravert to raise money? Everybody thinks so, but it that the truth? Psychiatrist Carl Jung identified three personality types: introvert, extravert and a third: ambiverts. Like an ambidextrious person can comfortably use both their right and left hand, an ambivert is someone who is a mix […]

Posted in: Blog


Lessons from a Reluctant Asker


October 3, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Recently, I had a chance to sit down with my former pastor and dear friend, Lee Heyward, as part of our on-going What Matters podcast conversations. Over the course of my career, I’ve been honored to work with many churches. Our conversation ranged over our history together and what we’ve both learned about […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Don’t Neglect Your Family


July 8, 2014

By Lora Dow Part of any fundraising campaign involves the solicitation of gifts from board and staff. Sometimes we call this the “family campaign.” It often comes at the beginning of an annual effort or during the “quiet phase” of a capital campaign. While it’s something we always do, I’d challenge you to consider how […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Endowment


Turn It Up!


May 7, 2013

By Jon Simons There are many ways to measure fundraising progress, but I want to add one more to the list. It’s not a measure of time, donors or even dollars – it’s a measure of degrees! If you want to make better “asks” and give your volunteers a proven tool for success, it’s time […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital