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Donor By Design Group LLC
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Thom Peters recently had a chance to stop in Louisiana, Missouri. He had first visited this community more than a dozen years ago for a different project. There is a reason that most of you have probably never heard of Louisiana – its REALLY small.

Thom reintroduced himself to one of the key volunteers who had been part of the effort back then. She was thrilled to see Thom and introduced him to her companion by saying, “This is one of the guys who said we couldn’t support a Y.”

After defending himself and his former employer, Thom asked her what had happened since that recommendation. She explained that the volunteers had been very discouraged by the results of the study but finally asked themselves, “What would happen if we went forward anyway?”

Learn how they did it in today's DBD blog!

http://donorbydesign.com/against-the-odds/
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At a recent conference, several sessions and related discussions focused on ways to revitalize, reimagine and recharge stagnant endowment development programs. And for good reason!

Although many nonprofits report having endowment funds, that percentage is declining and very few have on-going programs that effectively inform and invite the organization’s best friends to make endowment commitments that, ironically, are also in their best interests.

Sound familiar?

In today's blog, Mike offers the first important action step to reboot your stagnant endowment development program.

http://donorbydesign.com/rebooting-endowment-development/
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As Robin Jordan recently reflected on the wonderful bonds and heartfelt professional relationships she has maintained over the past 22 years, there was something that stood out. It became apparent that these relationships had grown, blossomed and, today, were stronger than ever because of trust, value and commitment. These keys to long lasting relationships are also the keys to our strongest donor and volunteer relationships.

Want to learn how trust, value and commitment play out in financial development? Read more in today's DBD blog.

http://donorbydesign.com/three-keys-to-stronger-donor-relationships/
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Over the years Bruce Berglund worked with hundreds of non-profit CEOs/Executive Directors and development staff. A few years ago, a young executive director called. He was frustrated and worried that he wasn’t doing his job. Why? He wasn’t bringing in enough big checks.

Bruce encouraged him knowing that he was doing all the right things. He had identified his Top 20 prospects and that he was working the engagement plan with each prospect.

He then shared that the previous director would routinely come back with large checks and pledges after lunches and dinners. This new director’s experience was very different. His lunches and coffee dates had brought back very few checks in his first year in his new role.

What was he doing wrong? Learn more in today's blog...

http://donorbydesign.com/standing-on-the-iceberg/
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The origin of the phrase “getting down to brass tacks” is most often attributed to the haberdashery trade where “…in order to be more accurate than the rough-and-ready measuring of a yard of material by holding it out along an arm's length, cloth was measured between brass tacks which were set into a shop's counter.” This technique allowed for more accurate measurement and a much more efficient process in custom hat-making.

On the other hand, the much-used phrase in corporate strategy meetings of a “30,000 foot view” is more easily understood to originate from the cruising altitude of commercial airplanes. It, of course, alludes to seeing the big picture.

These two metaphors each characterize a type of perspective. In an organizational setting, they could be referred to as operational versus aspirational. In a dynamic organization, it’s critical to know when to zoom in on something, and when to zoom out.

As part of making your case, whether for a capital project or an annual appeal, there must be a thoughtful balance of aspiration and operation.

How do you strike that balance and give donors both a dream and the confidence that you can make it reality?

Learn more from Jason Fry in today's DBD blog!
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"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 of you know exactly what I am talking about."

In today's blog, Robin's story starts with a dread of fundraising that evolved into a passion for it. Learn what sparked her passion and see how it could help your staff team, volunteer board - or even you - learn to love fundraising.

http://donorbydesign.com/how-i-learned-to-love-fundraising/
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One of our best pieces of advice for major gift fundraising sounds a bit awkward and unnecessary at first. That advice?

Ask for permission to ask.

Ask for permission to ask? Doesn’t that add an unnecessary step? Wouldn’t it take a lot less time to present your case, respectfully ask for the gift, allow the potential donor to consider the request, respond to their questions and proceed from there to finalize the solicitation?

How does it even work?

Learn more in today's DBD blog...

http://donorbydesign.com/asking-for-permission/
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On multiple occasions recently, we have heard nonprofit leaders discussing the upcoming tsunami heading across North America: the changing leadership guard in the C-level suites in large and small organizations in communities of all sizes, demographics and genres of service.

If we all sense its approach, what can we do to help diminish the risk and increase the opportunity to make these transitions beneficial and not catastrophic for the future of the sector?

Learn more from Jan Brogdon in today's DBD blog:

http://donorbydesign.com/a-tsunami-is-on-the-way/
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Stewardship Doesn’t Just Happen

Anyone in non-profit work, especially those in the financial development field, understand the importance of donor stewardship. But like any important objective, without a deliberate and thoughtful effort donor stewardship can fall through the cracks.

In our Field Notes publication we offer tips and resources to support your fundraising efforts. In this issue, we share four key steps to getting started and making your donor stewardship more purposeful.

Are you ready to show your donors some love?

http://donorbydesign.com/resources/field-notes/
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One of the most dangerous words in the English language is the word “perfect.”

While the concept feels good and worthy of pursuit, it is – in the end – a fool’s errand. I can only imagine the number of unfulfilled goals and dreams that die on the unreachable alter of perfection.

In today's blog, Jon Simons offers an alternative to perfection, especially for non-profit staff and volunteers that find themselves holding back from donor conversations, worried they might not be "good enough."

http://donorbydesign.com/the-pursuit-of-perfection/
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