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September 6, 2017

By Lora Dow At the 2017 Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit, the DBD team was once again inspired and challenged by incredible stories of leadership and vision. Each year it seems a story will dig into our hearts and not let go. For me, it was the stories told by Bryan Stevenson, Founder and […]

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Being Intentional About Board Development

August 17, 2017

By Robin Jordan As non-profit leader I learned to use summer as an opportunity to connect with volunteers and start my board development strategies. Over the years, I developed a proficient and intentional method that improved my efforts, year after year, in building a stronger group of volunteers. Board members are the cornerstone to successful […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Change the Request

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Driving Leaders

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.   […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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