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Telling (and Listening) Your Better Story

February 14, 2018

By Bruce Berglund When people think of fundraising, they usually are thinking about The Ask – and that can be very intimidating. This month, the Donor By Design Team is taking on How to Ask. Today, Bruce delves into a better way to approach the ask. Fundraising. Asking for money. These words drive many volunteers […]

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Trust Your Donors

February 1, 2018

By Peggy Vinson When people think of fundraising, they usually are thinking about The Ask – and that can be very intimidating. This month, the Donor By Design Team is taking on How to Ask. Today, Peggy urges us to trust our donors… and the process. We all know it’s important to take time to […]

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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 […]

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Getting Out of the Special Events Business

March 27, 2017

By Danny Maier In Part I of this series, we discussed the hazards of being in the “special events business” versus true fundraising. If you recognized your organization in that post, your next question is probably: “How do we become an organization more focused on major gifts?” The answer is all about culture change. Weaning […]

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How I Learned to Love Fundraising

March 9, 2017

By Robin Jordan My journey to loving fundraising starts with a story. I started my career as a young enthusiastic program director in the nonprofit world. I was hired by the YMCA and my area of expertise was fitness. Picture leg warmers, headbands, and those very becoming leotards. While I might be dating myself, some […]

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How to Face Down a Monster

October 17, 2016

By Robin Jordan 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!   The thought of asking for money can be intimidating and overwhelming. The planning and work that it takes to prepare for a successful campaign can often […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital
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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 […]

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Re-reading the Lessons

June 23, 2016

By Danny Maier A good friend recently returned a book I lent her a while back. How many books are sitting in your bookcase that you read so long ago their lesson has faded from your memory? The book, The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications by Jeff Brooks, is a simple guide on how to […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support, Stewardship
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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 […]

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Shed a Little Light

February 11, 2016

By Jon Simons As a cyclist, I have never really looked forward to the winter months. I’m fine with riding in cold weather (it’s all about the layers), but the real challenge comes from the shorter hours of daylight. Night riding on the roads of New Jersey is unsafe and unnerving to say the least! […]

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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 […]

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Thanks but No Thanks

December 10, 2015

By Jon Simons and Lora Dow If you have been in fund development long enough, you may have found yourself in this situation: Early in the cultivation process for a capital gift, we joined a volunteer and prospective donor for a vision tour of a soon-to-be-renovated facility. While touring, the volunteer did a wonderful job of […]

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Look for the Seams

March 4, 2015

By Thom Peters There is a legend in baseball that one of the reasons Ted Williams was such a great hitter was due to his ability to see the seams on the baseball as it came hurling toward him at 95 miles an hour. Supposedly, his eyesight was so good, he could essentially slow the […]

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Common Ground

February 5, 2015

By Thom Peters Confession: I am a graduate of the Ohio State University. Having lived in Wisconsin for the past 18 years, I have endured the wrath of Badger fans and even a number of Michigan folks. Much of this comes from friends and seemingly sane people who really don’t like my Buckeyes. Even more […]

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Nine Year-End Strategies

December 8, 2014

By Michele Goodrich It is estimated that 30% of charitable contributions are made between Thanksgiving and Christmas and 10% of those are made in the last 48 hours of the year. With that being the case, it is not too late to capture a share of this year’s holiday generosity by launching a year-end fundraising effort! […]

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Be Careful When Protecting

November 4, 2014

By Thom Peters Recently, while visiting a client with one of my colleagues, we found time to have lunch with a good friend of mine, Larry. We had many laughs as we caught up on each other’s lives, but suddenly, Larry got uncharacteristically serious. Out the window where we were seated, we could see a […]

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DBD AXIOMS: Interest and Capacity

October 23, 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 new series, we’ll dig into these axioms and clarify how they can help you achieve your development goals. For years I have started […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Case for Support, Endowment
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Six Word Story

September 23, 2014

By Bruce Berglund There’s a popular meme on Twitter, challenging people to write a six word story. Recently, we challenged a group of development officers to write their own six word stories about the state of fundraising in their organizations. The answers caused rueful chuckles and nods of familiarity. Do you recognize your resource development efforts […]

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Room for Hope: A Case Study

September 13, 2014

By the Donor By Design Team Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services Inc. (Oshkosh, WI) provides a variety of services to help the victims of domestic violence and to prevent violence before it starts. As the demand for their shelter services grew, they knew they needed to expand and remodel the 1908 Victorian mansion that is […]

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Simple But Not Easy

May 20, 2014

By Bruce Berglund I often tell clients that I wish I could make this work sound more complicated. After all, they’ve brought me in to talk to their team about a campaign that will be vital to the organization’s future. Surely I must have complicated graphs and algorithms to make it all work? When it […]

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Caring is Sharing

April 8, 2014

By Jon Simons Unlocking the mystery of donor prospect identification comes down to one simple question: WHO REALLY CARES? For too long, donor prospect identification has focused on people’s capacity to give rather than their capacity to care. It’s no wonder that our volunteers squirm at the idea of opening up their list of personal […]

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Can I Show You Around? 13 Tips for a Great Donor Visit

March 21, 2014

By the Donor By Design Team One of the best ways to deepen the connection between a donor and your organization is to let them experience your program in action. Whether that’s a site visit or a chance to talk with program alumni, a great donor visit can do more than any brochure or talking […]

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Resolutions: Taking the First Step

January 29, 2014

By Mike Bussey I was delighted to receive calls from two nonprofit executives during the final days of 2013. Both calls were to pass along some great news regarding year-end endowment commitments. As I rejoiced with them, a Chinese proverb that came to mind: ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ […]

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Resolutions: What to Stop

January 28, 2014

By Michele Goodrich An article from the December 30, 2013 issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy suggests an unconventional approach to New Year’s resolutions for nonprofit leaders. Instead of providing a list of things to add; it recommends things to stop doing. The list was compiled with input from experts in the nonprofit field and […]

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