Posted by Lindsay Casavant

As a nonprofit leader, it is likely that building and maintaining donor trust is one of your highest priorities. Have you ever thought about embracing radical transparency as a practice to foster long-lasting relationships and build trust? An upcoming meeting or retreat could provide a perfect forum for your team’s reflection on this topic.


Paint the Full Picture

What is radical transparency? It goes far beyond reporting on finances and operations. It's about sharing your vision, challenges, successes, processes and even shortcomings. It means being upfront about where you and your organization are excelling and where you are working to improve.


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Topics: Fundraising, Case For Support, Nonprofit Leadership, Planning, Transparency, Ideas, Inclusion, trust


Posted by Michelle Gorham

No spoilers…I promise! In both the book, The Martian, and the equally excellent movie by the same name, astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) is left on Mars after an unexpected dust storm forces the rest of the crew to abandon the planet without him. With scarce food, an inability to communicate, a living environment built to last only a month, and only disco music, as “setbacks” go, this one is colossal.

If you’ve worked in a nonprofit (or probably just about anywhere), you know that not every project goes as planned. In fact, sometimes plan A turns into plan D or E or F. Often, the setbacks are minor – like you used the wrong mail permit number on a mass mailing – and easily fixed. Sometimes, they are more significant – like a lead gift in a capital campaign changes course and decides not to give at all – and mean you need to go back to reset and re-strategize.

Just as Watney (also, luckily, a trained botanist) figures out how to grow enough potatoes to keep himself alive for four years until another mission can return to save him, there is another setback and it’s a doozey!

What does he do? He “works the problem.”


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Topics: Fundraising, Nonprofit Leadership, Planning, Fundraising Campaign, Campaign Planning, Ideas, strategic planning


Posted by Richard Clegg

Every nonprofit organization builds its success on well-defined strategies. But what happens when those strategies, once so promising, start to show cracks? Knowing when to adjust the strategies in your strategic plan and when to give your strategy time to play out can be a critical turning point for the leadership of your organization. How can you tell if something is amiss?


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Topics: Stewardship, Fundraising, Positioning Campaign, Nonprofit Leadership, Planning, Fundraising Campaign, Planned Giving, Campaign Planning, Mission Alignment, Ideas, strategic planning


Posted by Lauren DeSimone

Personal stewardship is key to retaining donors, especially major gifts donors. But what about other donors? ALL donors deserve shows of gratitude and a report on how their gift is changing lives.

While personalized stewardship would be a terrific way to retain donors at all levels, it is not realistic in fast-paced world of nonprofits. So how can we make thoughtful and intentional stewardship possible for donors at every giving amount?

Creating a systematic approach to stewardship could be the answer.

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Topics: Donor Stewardship, Stewardship, Fundraising, Nonprofit Leadership, friendraising


Posted by Sarah Breece

Two summers ago, when I was an Executive Director at a nonprofit in Portland, OR, I agreed to participate in a weeklong cycling event where we would ride over 350 miles, climb nearly 20,000 feet and camp out in various small towns over the course of the week.

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Topics: Donor Stewardship, Stewardship, Fundraising, Nonprofit Leadership, friendraising


Congratulations! The gift agreement is signed, and the joyful donor has made a bequest in their will. As a result, they have become a member of your legacy giving society. They are looking forward to your annual dinner and receiving the regular newsletter. But is that all there is for the next, ten, fifteen, or twenty years?

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Topics: Donor Stewardship, Stewardship, Fundraising, Endowment, Nonprofit Leadership, Planned Giving


Posted by DBD Team

Everyone agrees that stewardship is important, but too often it drops to the bottom of the priority list for busy nonprofit professionals. Here are five overlooked ways to say thanks all year long.

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Topics: Donor Stewardship, Stewardship, Fundraising, Nonprofit Leadership, Annual Fundraising


Posted by Michele Goodrich

Nonprofit leaders are often unable to get their board and staff more actively involved in fundraising. For as long as I can remember this has been a popular topic for round table discussions, webinars, conference sessions and more. Suggested solutions often include establishing “give and get” requirements; better/more training; team competitions; clearer expectations; offering rewards and incentives; and more.

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Topics: Leadership, Fundraising, Nonprofit Leadership, Annual Fundraising, Pat Lencioni, What We're Reading


Posted by Jan Brogdon

TRUST. Such a heavy word! You know it when you feel it and you also are very aware when it is not present with someone or in a certain situation. I bet just reading that caused you to tense up and maybe even sweat.

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Topics: Leadership, Nonprofit Leadership, What We're Reading, trust


Posted by Laura DeVries

This month, I’ve been walking in Garden of the Gods and listening to Andy Crouch’s book, The Life We’re Looking For. The book is about nurturing a sense of belonging, meaning and significance in life and leadership. In one chapter, Crouch explores two words the non-profit sector often uses interchangeably. Those words are “impact” and “influence.”

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Topics: Leadership, Nonprofit Leadership, What We're Reading

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