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The Back Burner

January 12, 2015

By Dan Maier Endowment, stewardship, and relationship development are fundraising tasks all too often placed on the dreaded back burner. We all have one: the place where the really critical tasks go to simmer and eventually dry up and die. There’s an antidote to the back burner syndrome – a tried and true model to make […]

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Curate Your 2015

January 5, 2015

By Bruce Berglund This is the time of year many of us are making personal and professional resolutions. In Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the authors reference the important role of museum curators: What makes a museum great is the stuff that’s not on the walls. Someone says no. A curator is […]

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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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Remembering a Leader

October 9, 2014

By Danny Maier In July, a mentor in my life died: Senator Alan J. Dixon. A moderate Democrat from Southern Illinois, he would remind me that I never “worked for Senator Dixon.” Rather, I “worked with Senator Dixon and for the people of Illinois.”  His opponents dubbed him “Al the Pal” in an attempt to […]

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Make Your Own Luck

September 17, 2014

By Dan Maier How many times have you thought, “Boy, he is so lucky?” Truth is, luck is never really the reason; it’s the offspring. A mentor of mine, a brilliant physician, said this about luck: “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity… and I make my own luck by always preparing.” In the best of […]

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Don’t Water the Rocks

September 10, 2014

By Peggy Vinson I recently visited with the staff of a local nonprofit organization. We were reviewing their 2014 campaign and discussing strategies for 2015. As usual, we talked about renewals and new prospects. We also talked about where executives’ and board members’ time is best spent. How do we cultivate our closer friends now […]

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Attitude Adjustments

September 8, 2014

By Michele Goodrich A few weeks ago, I attended a meeting of non-profit leaders struggling through a slump in their capital campaign. They were tired and frustrated. After months and months of hard work, which had resulted in a steady flow of generous support for their project, they had hit a dip. Momentum had slowed, […]

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Unlocking Potential

August 26, 2014

By Journey Johnson Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit with the rest of my Donor By Design colleagues. One of the speakers, Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett Packard CEO, shared that the highest calling of leadership is to “unlock the potential of others.” I have reflected […]

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Walking Toward the Danger

August 20, 2014

By Peggy Vinson How far will our leadership opportunities take us? Are we really role models and “billboards” for what our organizations stand for? Are we good at communicating why our organization is critical to the health and well-being of our community, especially in the face of opposition or skepticism? In my career, I’ve watched […]

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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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A Lesson In Generosity

July 9, 2014

By Journey Johnson Early in my career, I had the privilege of knowing a wonderful, generous woman named Miss Hannah Lide Coker. As a young executive director, I was eager to make a good impression with all the leaders in my community, including Miss Coker. She was a donor to my Y’s annual giving campaign, […]

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Trashy Leadership

June 24, 2014

By Michele Goodrich A 2013 documentary directed by Andrew Garrison is hands-down one of the best leadership films I have seen recently.  I doubt that was the director’s intent, but from my perspective he has done just that. “Trash Dance” follows Allison Orr from start to finish as she takes on the unlikely and difficult […]

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Pause, Stop, Relaunch: Part II

May 6, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Last week, we started a discussion about what to do when you find your campaign at the bottom of the dip and stalled. There are four key elements to every campaign – case, leadership, prospects and a plan. Today we’ll consider the importance of prospects and a plan. Consider these questions about […]

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Pause, Stop, Relaunch: Part I

May 2, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Rarely does a week go by without a phone call from someone who is tired, frustrated and defeated. They’re worried their campaign is “stalled.” Before you can adequately diagnose the issue with your campaign, you must first have the courage to hit the pause button. Take the time to determine if you […]

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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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Your Timeline is Not Our Crisis

March 4, 2014

By Bruce Berglund I must admit that I am a bit impatient. My patience (or lack there of) has been tested in 2014 as travel delays due to weather (think polar vortex) have been maddening. I can’t wait for spring! I think that a healthy dose of impatience lurks in the veins of most leaders. […]

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What Matters Podcast #2

February 13, 2014

By the Donor By Design Team In our work with nonprofit leaders, we get to meet extraordinary people. In this edition of the What Matters Podcast, we’ll introduce you to one of them: Paul Kieltyka, CEO of the Summit Area YMCA. This story about a change of heart will inspire you and perhaps help you […]

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The Overlooked Volunteer

February 11, 2014

By Peggy Vinson As I travel around the country working with clients, I always emphasize the importance of finding the right volunteer leaders for your fundraising endeavors. These are usually outgoing “ring leaders” whom others rally around. They have a huge impact on campaign success. But lately I’ve realized that in my passion for strong […]

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Resolutions: Does Your Dog Bite?

January 21, 2014

By Jon Simons Good fundraisers understand the value of asking questions in pursuit of answers. Great fundraisers aren’t satisfied with getting answers; they crave clarity. To understand a potential donor’s true interests, motivations and reservations we need to move beyond simple Q&A, taking the time to understand the deeper meaning behind their responses. To achieve […]

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Resolutions Part III: Keep Calm

January 9, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Happy New Year from all of us at Donor By Design! We hope your first full week of 2014 is off to a great start. This is the final blog in a three part series. In the first blog, I reviewed John Norcross’s suggestions for keeping resolutions from his book Changeology, and […]

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Resolutions Part II: Bullets Before Cannonballs

January 6, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Once again, Happy New Year from all of us at Donor By Design! In the second blog of this three-part series, I’m going to dig deeper into one of John Norcross’s suggestions for keeping resolutions, and some ideas from Jim Collins’ new book, Great By Choice. (Miss Part I? Read it now.) Norcross’ […]

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Resolutions Part I: The 20 Mile March

January 2, 2014

By Bruce Berglund Happy New Year! This is the time of year so many of us make resolutions for the upcoming year — some of them we even keep!  Last year at this time, I decided to stop drinking any kind of soda. I had become convinced I didn’t need the diet or the sugary […]

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Whatever it Takes

December 17, 2013

By Thom Peters For those of you who fly a lot, you know that part of the routine is waiting. And then waiting some more. But when there’s a delay in the first leg of a journey and I need to make a tight connection, then the routine for me becomes more panic than waiting. […]

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A Time to Celebrate

December 5, 2013

By the Donor By Design Team Yesterday, the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast celebrated the groundbreaking of a new facility in the Riverside area. This is an exciting time, and not just for the organization, but for the whole community, which is seeing a host of economic revitalization.     ………. The project is generating […]

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