Building a Winning Team

January 23, 2017

By Robin Jordan This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Build a winning team.   For the past few weeks, NFL teams have been in a show down to compete in the big event – the Super Bowl. The preparation for this event, […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog


Best of DBD 2016: Leadership


December 15, 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? Leadership. Leadership We have a saying at DBD (and we got it from a nonprofit leader) that “Leadership is Everything.” In more than ten years […]

Posted in: Blog


Changing Culture

November 3, 2016

By Peggy Vinson   Changing a board’s philanthropic culture is a big challenge. Convincing board members to become true ambassadors, as well as campaigners, for your organization doesn’t happen overnight, but is one of the best legacies you can leave. Cultural change takes time and consistent effort. Too often, we think of this as a […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Four Ingredients for Powerful Boards


September 30, 2015

By Mike Bussey Years ago, I attended one of my first YMCA training events, held at the Calhoun Beach Hotel in Minneapolis. The day’s featured presentation on board development was of very little interest to me. The presenter was John Kessler, the President of the Minneapolis YMCA (later the President of George Williams College), and […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


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


Sabotaging Your Culture of Philanthropy


June 22, 2015

By Danny Maier Recently, I attended a board meeting for a great nonprofit organization. Afterward, the CEO confessed that he was “really troubled that we can’t create a culture of philanthropy here. It is just so frustrating.” I agreed. But then I had the hard task of telling him how his board agenda was at […]

Posted in: Blog


Shifting Sands


May 19, 2015

By Bruce Berglund As I look at our feasibility study data over the last several years, I see a theme emerging. Many of the nonprofits we worked with used to be supported by “Class A,” powerful boards. These boards represented the best leadership their communities had to offer. But over time, the sands have shifted […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Is Your Board a Team?


February 11, 2015

By Peggy Vinson “My board members don’t know each other.” “My board doesn’t have time to socialize.” “I haven’t met all my board members.” It’s surprising how often I hear these kinds of statements from nonprofit leaders. I wonder how boards like this effectively establish a strategic plan or expect to accomplish goals when they […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


DBD AXIOMS: Boards Can’t Heal Themselves


November 4, 2014

By Bruce Berglund At Donor By Design, we are guided by a series of axioms: Core concepts that shape our work and have proven their worth over and over again. In this series, we’re digging into these axioms and clarify how they can help you achieve your development goals. Read Part 1. It has been […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Driving Leaders

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July 17, 2014

By Bruce Berglund   Those of you who have followed my blogs or have attended a presentation I’ve given know that one of my favorite fundraising axioms is Leadership is Everything.   After we do the hard work of identifying and recruiting “Big L” leaders, we need to use this new-found leadership asset wisely.   […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Make it a Great Job


April 22, 2014

I recently finished a feasibility study for the YMCA of Greater Dayton in Ohio. During the study, I spoke with 27 community and business leaders, many of whom had a past or present leadership role with the Y. What I heard in these meetings reinforced what I had suspected going in: This is a very […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Three Signs


October 15, 2013

By Bruce Berglund Recently, my team got to hear Patrick Lencioni speak. He is as dynamic and funny in person as his books would lead you to expect. His topic, based on his book “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job,” got all of us talking later that evening. Thankfully, my team wasn’t talking about […]

Posted in: Blog, Leadership


Skeptics and Evangelists


October 3, 2013

By Bruce Berglund If you are anything like me, you probably try to avoid spending too much time with skeptics. They bring me down, they often derail meetings, and in fundraising efforts they can be momentum killers. Evangelists, on the other hand, are those folks who lift my spirits, inspire others during meetings, and fuel […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Leadership


Brain Food – September 2013


September 30, 2013

By the Donor By Design Team Perhaps we should call this one The Infographics Issue. Before you roll your eyes and complain about the shortened attention span of people today, take a look at these surprising ways that nonprofits are using infographics to make their case. More than just clever and appealing, infographics are uniquely […]

Posted in: Blog, Brain Food