Redefining Success

Posted by Jason Fry

We raised $5.7 million.


We raised $5.7 million!

Why does one character change that statement so much?

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Topics: Leadership, Goal Setting, Mission, Goals, Financial Development, Vision, strategic planning, Metrics

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

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

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

Improving Fundraising Efforts Through Connection

Posted by Jason Fry

Fundraising: The Music and The Notes

I’ve been trying to teach myself how to play guitar on and off for the past three years. I don’t read music. I didn’t grow up in a musical family. I don’t sing (except for off-key but energetic Bob Seger karaoke riffs on rare occasions). But something happens when I practice the guitar.

The analytical side of my brain is frantically trying to remember how to position the fingers of my left hand to make a ‘G’ chord. Developing the muscle memory for the seemingly infinite combination of six strings and however many different fret combinations is daunting. To me, this part of the practice feels like work. It’s memorization and repetition for both mind and muscle.

On rare occasions, though, I can hear what sounds a little like actual music. It gives me a rush and makes me want to play more. I might even find myself nodding my head, moving my shoulders into the picking, or smiling. This is when the practice feels more like art.

Often, I’m asked to provide proven fundraising principles to a group of board members or a nonprofit staff team. Even though I try to weave in stories with the fundraising best practices, I suspect that many people are in their heads, trying to figure out how to hit the notes. This might be like me having a visit with my guitar instructor. It’s helpful, but I really don’t improve until I practice.

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Topics: Leadership, Fundraising, Nonprofit Staff

How to Retain Quality Fundraisers and Development Staff

Posted by Mary Ramirez

Leading With Fresh Eyes

Whether your organization’s development office is a one-man show, mid-sized, or a mega shop one thing is for certain: leadership is everything!  As you look at your 2023 goals, evaluate the way you’ve been leading with fresh eyes to assess where you might need to strengthen or encourage your team.

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Topics: Leadership, Fundraising, Nonprofit Staff

Best DBD 2022 Blog Posts

Posted by DBD Team


As the year comes to and end, we are highlighting our best posts and the nonprofit practices that we should all carry into the new year. 

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Topics: Leadership, Fundraising, Best of DBD, finance

6 Leadership Lessons from Hockey Refereeing

Posted by Kellie Wardman

This month we're discussing a few core approaches that we can use to prepare for next year.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture

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