How To Thank and Retain Volunteers

Recently, I attended a volunteer celebration for a local public school district. The volunteers for the year were treated to a reception before the Board of Directors meeting, which included a performance from the honor band. The staff and board thanked and recognized the volunteers for their service throughout the evening. Students were also celebrated, which was a great way to incorporate the impact of the volunteers’ service and demonstrate their value to the organization.

This celebration reminded me that in addition to traditional nonprofits, many other organizations benefit from volunteer service, including schools, athletic teams, and medical care facilities. No matter where a volunteer is choosing to spend their time, it is important we celebrate them.

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Topics: Leadership, Volunteer, Volunteer Appreciation, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Leadership, Volunteers

Use Donor Data to Inform Strategy

The Bad News

According to the latest report from the Fundraising Effectiveness Project (FEP), year-over year growth in contributed support fell nearly 2% during the final quarter of 2022.

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Topics: Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Leadership, Donor Management, Donor Prospect, Data Management

Lead with Inclusion: Transforming Your Leadership Style

Posted by Lora Dow

Whether or not you have the official title of “leader,” you have opportunities to create a work environment – and a community – that is not only more welcoming, but that engages the abilities and gifts of all people.

Leaders learn (and unlearn).

Biases and beliefs get installed in us all the time, often when we’re quite young. Unlearning these can be confusing, embarrassing and even shameful. But leaders aren’t afraid of learning. They are always seeking improvement. What they learn, they put into action. Just as you might have educated yourself on how to organize a team, read a financial statement or be a better public speaker, you can learn how to be better at being inclusive in your leadership.

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Topics: Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Nonprofit Leadership, Inclusion

Leadership at All Levels

Posted by Bruce Berglund

I get asked this question at least once a week: what’s the single most important thing for successful campaigns? Most who ask this question suspect my answer will be something about wealth screening, stewardship, powerful cases, endorsements from community leaders, etc.

The simple answer is … leadership. And that leadership has to come from all levels of the organization.

Leadership takes the form of a graphic designer who spends the extra hours to make materials simple, elegant and powerful.

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Topics: Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Campaign Leadership, Nonprofit Leadership

Rethinking Office Space for Nonprofit Organizations

Posted by DBD Finance Team

When thinking about ways to use real estate assets to further a nonprofit’s mission, we often focus on underutilized real estate and how we might turn those into cash. However, as nonprofits seek ways to use contributed and earned revenue dollars more efficiently, it may also be a good time to rethink how you use your office space

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Topics: Nonprofit Management, finance, financial management

How Understanding Working Genius Can Transform Your Team

Posted by Michele Goodrich

To build a strong team, you must see someone else’s strength as a complement to your weakness and not a threat to your position or authority.” – Christine Caine, Australian best-selling author

Have you ever heard someone express something like:

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Topics: Leadership, Nonprofit Management, Teamwork

Are False Starts Impeding Your Progress?

Posted by Kellie Wardman

Anticipation is at its peak, the play is about to happen, and the whistle blows. The referee’s voice echoes across the stadium: False start.

Five-yard penalty. The opportunity to move the ball is hampered. This might even lead to a turnover. 

False starts are common in many sports. In football, they are the top cause of penalties. And guess what? False starts happen in nonprofits too.

Organizational false starts might not be in adrenaline-pumping moments. But they can cost your nonprofit significant time, lost motivation, and wasted staff and volunteer energy. 

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Topics: Leadership, Nonprofit Leadership, strategic planning

Connecting Donors to What Matters Most

"Connecting you to what matters is what matters most."

This tagline is from Delta Airlines. But when I hear it on a flight, I am not thinking about travel. Instead, I am thinking it is a great reminder of what we should be focused on NOW based on the trending data. This is the donor-centric mantra we should all be repeating in our heads as we work with prospects and contributors.


It's a good time to take a look at donor stewardship at all levels.

A recent report from Chronicle of Philanthropy suggests that the number of small gift donors fell significantly in the first half of 2022 as compared to the previous year.

The number of people making contributions of $100 or less dropped more than 17%, and 8% fewer donors made gifts if $101-$500.

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Topics: Stewardship, Financial Development

Simple Questions to Better Understand Your Board, Donors and Staff

Posted by Sara Luke

Remember Your Why

In the day-to-day hustle of our work, it’s easy to forget why we do what we do. To-do lists, deadlines, and budgets can get the better of us. That’s why we remind clients to step back from the immediate tasks at hand and remember their greater purpose and mission.

We encourage our nonprofit leaders to stay connected to why their volunteers, donors, and staff are involved with their organization.

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Topics: Ask, Fundraising Management, Nonprofit Staff

Using Curiosity to Support your Fundraising

Posted by Jon Simons

The Role of Curiosity in Fundraising

If knowledge is power, then curiosity is the muscle.  
- Danielle LaPorte

If you have spent any time in a cast, you know well that muscles, left unused, atrophy. To rebuild and stay strong, we need to re-learn how to engage and challenge our muscles. 

If curiosity is a muscle as LaPorte says, then my dear friend and partner at DBD Group, Thom Peters, is Arnold Schwarzenegger. When he asks “How are you?” he is not just being polite. He is knocking on the door of your soul and hoping to be invited in.

Thom wants to know your story and finds true joy in making real and authentic connections. His greatest hope is to learn what’s important to you and then connect you with others who share your passion. Thom is inquisitive and a connector on the grandest scale.  

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Topics: Fundraising, Fundraising Management, Nonprofit Staff

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