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The Anti-Decider

March 6, 2018

I’ll preface this blog by saying it’s a bit of a tough-love message. Learning about the “Anti-Decider” has been a hard lesson for me over the years. And I confess, I still occasionally give my most earnest advice on this subject…followed in some regrettable cases with the kind truth of, “I warned you.” My counsel […]

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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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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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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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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 […]

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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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Anatomy of a Thank You, Part 3

October 9, 2014

By Lora Dow Read the first part or second part of this series. Donor stewardship takes many forms. There are countless ways to show your organization’s appreciation for a gift that honors the donor and encourages further participation. But earlier this year, I was brought to a standstill by a donor wall that had a […]

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Anatomy of a Thank You, Part 1

October 9, 2014

By Lora Dow It’s no secret that personal giving pages are changing the nature of the way we ask for gifts. It’s highly likely that, if you’re reading this, you’ve supported a friend or family member in a walk or run to raise money for one cause or another. As with any fundraising, the relationship […]

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Unsung Heroes

February 25, 2014

By Michele Goodrich I looked out the window of my warm home last week to see my mail carrier dressed in a full snowsuit, heavy gloves and a hat with furry ear flaps struggling to climb over a pile of drifted snow to deliver a package. It was after 7 pm and certainly not the […]

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Resolutions: Gratitude

January 23, 2014

By Charley Shirley I generally hate to make New Year’s resolutions. No sooner have I made one than I find myself falling short. But I decided I could make one resolution this year… and… I may make it each year for the rest of my life. I resolve to be more grateful. While I was […]

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