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Resolution: Get Personal

January 1, 2018

By Bruce Berglund This January, the DBD Team is making resolutions to help us be better. Today Bruce vows to get personal.  Happy New Year! If you are like me, the first few days back in early January consists of cleaning up your office, creating new files, and maybe even cleaning out the dreaded emails […]

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Thanking Family

November 1, 2017

By Peggy Vinson It’s November and our minds automatically go to being thankful. We often use this month to thank our donors, but my question is this: When we think of our donors, do we think of our board members and our staff?  Do we ever do anything extra to thank them? I worked with […]

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Seeing Yourself in the Story

June 15, 2017

By Jon Simons and Lora Dow This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: how do you help a donor see themselves in the story?    “You won’t truly connect with someone until you see yourself […]

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Enduring Donor Love

June 13, 2017

By Michele Goodrich   This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: how do you cultivate enduring donor love?    After a recent Capital Campaign Leadership Cabinet meeting, one of the volunteers asked everyone to stop on […]

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Authentic and Personal

June 7, 2017

By Jan Brogdon This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways grow the relationship with our donors… moving beyond the thank you note to a deeper connection. Today’s topic: making stewardship authentic and personal.    Authentic and personal stewardship. We all strive to deliver it. We know it when we see it. And yet oftentimes […]

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More Than a Vacation

June 5, 2017

By Jim Mellor This summer, the Donor By Design Team is considering new ways to look at stewardship… going beyond the thank you note to forming deeper relationships. Today’s topic: connecting with those who give generously of their time.  It seems like everyone is traveling this summer! If you have been an airport in the last few […]

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The Heart of a Giver

May 18, 2017

By Thom Peters My neighbor Ben is a really good kid. I have enjoyed watching him grow into a fine young man. When I was asked to write a reference letter on his behalf for a college scholarship, I felt no hesitation. And when Ben received notice that he was a recipient, I was honored to […]

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Staying in Touch

May 1, 2017

By Lora Dow Often at the end of a feasibility study, a non-profit is advised to conduct a “positioning campaign” while they prepare for an eventual capital campaign. A positioning campaign helps to change perceptions about a nonprofit’s impact in the community among stakeholders – be they donors, community leaders or residents in general. It […]

Posted in: Blog, Case for Support, Stewardship
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Seven Secrets of Successful Stewards

February 14, 2017

By Michele Goodrich This month, the Donor By Design Team has love and appreciation on our minds… specifically how we “love up” our donors. Today’s topic: seven secrets to successful stewardship! A few years ago I visited a friend who happened to be serving as the Chief Development Officer for a large arts organization. Before going […]

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Gift-Wrapped

January 3, 2017

By Jon Simons This month, the Donor By Design Group is challenging you to take action, moving from resolutions to results. Today’s topic? Unwrapping the gifts your volunteers bring.  For our family, the month of December is filled with holiday decorations, family gatherings and an ever-growing accumulation of gifts lovingly wrapped and place beneath the […]

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Best of DBD 2016: Stewardship

December 28, 2016

It’s time for the last post of 2016. It’s very appropriate that this post is all about saying thank you…   The Importance of Stewardship While so much of the work of a development officers is securing a gift, the most important part of the process comes after the gift is made. A good stewardship program […]

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The Artful Asker

October 11, 2016

By Journey Johnson “Philanthropy is the mystical mingling of a joyful giver with an artful asker and a grateful recipient in which all three-the joyful giver, artful asker and grateful recipient-benefit from the experience.” Doug Lawson My favorite definition of philanthropy comes from Doug Lawson’s book Give To Live. When philanthropy is hitting on all […]

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How to Treat a Friend

September 19, 2016

By Peggy Vinson As we travel the country doing feasibility studies, one thing we encounter almost every time, is a donor who cannot be interviewed because they are upset with the organization for not appropriately recognizing their contribution during the last capital campaign. Donors who give major gifts are showing they really trust you and are willing […]

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A Tale of Two Letters

June 6, 2016

By Michele Goodrich 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, Michele Goodrich reflects on our axiom: “The best cultivation is a great gift-giving experience.” Recently I was talking with a seatmate on a delayed flight. When […]

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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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Are You Listening?

March 15, 2016

By Thom Peters Over the years, I’ve had a chance to meet some really outstanding and wonderful people, including many captains of industry. If all my exposure to successful business folks was from what I hear through the media, I would never realized that there are so many truly servant leaders out there. One such […]

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Resolution: Dream Bigger

January 20, 2016

By Thom Peters I’m not great at resolutions. I have great intentions, just lousy follow through. After all my years I have learned that the higher I set my sights, the less opportunity I have to succeed. So I keep expectations low and generally feel better about how things turn out. I may not be […]

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Courage to Ask

December 15, 2015

By Journey Johnson Webster’s dictionary defines courage as “the ability to do something that you know is difficult.” One of the more difficult things in nonprofit management for many people can be asking for a donation. Many volunteers or staff are willing to do almost anything for their organization except ask people to support it. […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital
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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
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Three Iced Coffees to Go

May 12, 2015

By Charley Shirley I stood in line behind a man as he returned three large iced coffee drinks. I asked, “Did you get someone else’s order?” “No,” he replied, “she orders three every day of the year and she knows what they are supposed to taste like. She said that these were not acceptable and that […]

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The Value of Stewardship

March 19, 2015

By Jon Simons Upon learning about an amazing $40,000,000 estate gift made to the Westport Weston Family YMCA in Connecticut, another non-profit leader commented to me on how lucky they were to receive such a transformational donation. Having had the honor of working with the staff and volunteers of the Westport Weston Family Y for the […]

Posted in: Blog, Capital, Endowment, Stewardship
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Say Thank You Better Than You Say Please

March 11, 2015

By Journey Johnson How well do you say thank you to your joyful givers, passionate volunteers and dedicated staff? In most campaigns, we spend the majority of our time preparing for and making “The Ask” – and rightfully so since successful fundraising depends on artful asking and connecting joyful givers with important needs and inspiring […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Capital, Stewardship
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Foundational Relationships

March 9, 2015

By Peggy Vinson When you think about cultivating donors, getting to know them better and engaging them more deeply in your organization, do you include the leaders of the foundations that support you each year? Some of my favorite relationships have been with the leaders of the foundations who’ve supported my organization. I made a […]

Posted in: Annual, Blog, Stewardship
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Thanking Big

January 8, 2015

By the Donor By Design Team For the past year, we’ve had the privilege of working with the Nashville Zoo on their ambitious expansion campaign. They’ve received wonderful early support from many donors, including the City of Nashville, who made a generous $10 million contribution. City leaders recognize that the Zoo is a driver of […]

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