Do You Have Enough Friends?

April 19, 2017

By Jan Brogdon On a recent feasibility interview I met with a long-time community philanthropist who has been involved in more campaigns than maybe any other leader in my community. In the middle of a lovely question and answer session he leaned back in his seat to share a personal story that I am sharing […]

Posted in: Blog


Standing on the Iceberg

April 11, 2017

By Bruce Berglund Over the years I’ve had the great joy of working with hundreds of non-profit CEOs/Executive Directors (EDs) and development staff. A few years ago, a young executive director called me. He was frustrated and worried that he wasn’t doing his job. Why? He wasn’t bringing in enough big checks. I encouraged him […]

Posted in: Blog


Share, Not Sell

Share Not Sell

June 21, 2016

By Journey Johnson 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, Journey Johnson reflects on our axiom: “Share vs. Sell” The ability to share your vision and case for support is a critical first step to any […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support, Leadership, Stewardship


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


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 […]

Posted in: Blog, Stewardship


Connecting Past and Future


December 7, 2015

By the Donor By Design Team Recently, we had the pleasure of listening as Katie Trippi, a camp volunteer-turned-staff person from YMCA Camp Echo, shared her insights on finding and engaging alumni with a group of camps. While not all of our readers have facilities, or organizations with participants who might become donors, we still think the […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Stewardship


Einstein, Ping Pong and Grandma’s Basement


September 10, 2015

By Jon Simons Great communicators treat storytelling as an art. They know it’s among the most effective ways to make a point, set a tone and connect with an audience of any size. Stories bring organizational mission to life, give a face to a case and leave long-lasting impressions. As fundraisers, we are eager to […]

Posted in: Blog


What to Do with a No


September 2, 2015

By Bruce Berglund Nearly every big ask in my career as a staffer and consultant – whether it be an ask for a lead gift or a key leadership position – started with a no. For example: Would you and your family consider a lead gift of $____ for this campaign? No.  Would you consider serving […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital


Everybody Has a Story


August 24, 2015

By Journey Johnson One of my great joys in being a part of the world of nonprofits and philanthropy for over 35 years is the privilege I have to meet so many amazing people from all walks of life. One of the things I’ve learned is that everybody has a story. How well do you take the time to listen, […]

Posted in: Blog


The Kind of Person


June 11, 2015

By Lora Dow Seth Godin recently sat down for an interview about fundraising. At Donor By Design, we’ve always enjoyed Seth’s writing and applied many of his thoughts to our work,* but it was extra special to have him turn his attention to one of our favorite subjects. One of his main points in the […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support


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


Stop Talking


June 10, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Recently I was enjoying lunch with a client team. At one point in the animated conversation, one of the development staff handed a card to her colleague. It was a simple white business card with only two words: She went on to explain that she has several of these cards around the […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Stewardship


The Search for Sea Glass


February 24, 2011

By Jon Simons Living near the ocean, one of our year-round activities as a family is walking the beach in search of sea glass (glass that has been worn smooth by the churning sea and sand).  Although there is no official technique for sea glass collecting, my daughters have two distinct styles. My youngest is […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital