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

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


Posted by DBD Team

Leaders of non-profit organizations across the country have faced tough questions about how to successfully navigate disrupted plans and services due to Covid-19.  How do you lead with confidence in times of uncertainty?  How do you support your team, reconnect with your "why", and move boldly towards positive change and opportunity?  

In the Fall Forward DBD Podcast series, Jon Simons interviews leaders about how they were able to innovate and serve their community during the pandemic.

In the third and final part of the series, Jon Simons interviews founder and DBD Group President Bruce Berglund.

In this twenty-one minute episode, Bruce gives insights into how he was able to stay connected and provide unwavering service to clientele in midst of a crisis, move with confidence despite the uncertainty of the times, and support his team.


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Topics: Nonprofit Leadership, Podcast, Feasibility, Nonprofit Staff, Big L Leadership, DBD Axiom, The Dip, Nonprofit, community, Covid


Posted by Kellie Wardman

2022 is right around the corner! As we enter the fourth quarter and begin to wrap up a challenging year, it’s an opportune time to look forward. Following are five things to consider as you think about strategic thinking and planning in this new era.

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Topics: Goal Setting, Mission, Strategy, Planning, Nonprofit Staff, Fundraising Campaign, Nonprofit, Collaboration, Preparation, community, Covid


Posted by DBD Finance Team

By Jim Mellor and Brian Keel

The board of directors is an essential component of nonprofit leadership. We seek boards that are engaged, embrace their roles and responsibilities, are committed to transparency, and value both short- and long-term planning. 

Rules vary from state to state, but every board has significant legal and ethical duties that it cannot delegate to others including legal, management, program, and financial oversight. Beyond the board there may be committees that further assist the organization. Committees have representation from the Board but are also an opportunity to engage other community volunteers to serve, especially if these members have subject matter expertise.

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Topics: Volunteer Leadership, Volunteer Management, Volunteer Communication, Nonprofit Leadership, Strategy, Nonprofit Staff, community


In the world of fund development, endowment programs usually get the least amount of attention. This is a shame, because these gifts often represent a donor’s sense of legacy. Why do we put off the cultivation of endowment prospects? I propose that many of us are laboring under false beliefs about developing endowment program. It’s time to bust some myths!

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Topics: Fundraising, Endowment, Endowment Development, Nonprofit Staff, Fund Development, Planned Giving

Building a High Performance Development Team

Posted by Bruce Scott

Guest post from Bruce Scott of Westfall Gold. 

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Topics: Nonprofit Staff, Development Officer, Staff Development, development team


Posted by Danny Maier

Recently, I was speaking with a close friend who made a bad hire when filling a development position.  "I ultimately went with someone I know, not someone who knew."

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Topics: Nonprofit Staff, Pat Lencioni, Hiring, Career Growth, Staff Development, Staff

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