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

Podcast: Show and Tell Works

Posted by DBD Team
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Topics: Donor Stewardship, Fundraising, Storytelling, Fundraising Management, Vision, Giving, Campaign Planning, Nonprofit, Client Stories

How One Donor’s Visit to a Vision Room Inspired Her to Increase Her Gift

Posted by Sara Luke
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Topics: Capital Campaign, Donor Stewardship, Fundraising, Capital, Fundraising Management, Vision, Giving, Campaign Planning, Nonprofit, financial management


Posted by Danny Maier

Recently, I attended a board meeting for a great nonprofit organization. Afterward, the CEO confessed that he was “really troubled that we can’t create a culture of philanthropy here. It is just so frustrating.”

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Topics: Volunteer Leadership, Board Development, Board Management, Campaign Planning

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