The Catholic Fundraiser

Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE

Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE

Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE, a Senior Consultant at Let’s Build Hope, an organization that teaches and mentors development professionals and nonprofits to raise more money through hands-on, real-world training, and collaboration. Since 1997, Dawn has raised millions for nonprofits in 31 states, the District of Columbia, Canada, Haiti, Ireland, Mexico, and Rome, among other locations. Dawn is a featured speaker at national conventions, regional workshops, audio conferences, and webinars and has been a frequent contributor to local, national, and international nonprofit publications, websites, social media outlets, and blogs. She can be reached at or Or connect through:
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Recent Posts

Meet Your Donors In The Middle

Posted by Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE on 4/8/19 11:25 AM

There are a lot of things to love about the middle.

The best part of an Oreo is the middle. Some of the most beautiful rolling hills are in the middle of the country. And mid-level donors — those generous folks in the middle of your direct mail donors and your major donors — are often among the most faithful givers. Three reasons to love the middle!

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Topics: Donor Development, Donor Relationships

Stewards of Mission: What It Means and Why It Matters

Posted by Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE on 8/29/18 8:33 AM

“Fundraising is a very concrete way to help the Kingdom of God come about.” — Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Spirituality of Fundraising

Stewards of mission: What does that mean as fundraisers? Yes, we need to keep our missions in the center of all we do. Everything else flows from mission, right? That’s our guiding light, our north star, our EVERYTHING.

As stewards of mission, leaders must be actively involved with mission advancement efforts. At some organizations, that means at least 50 percent of a leader’s time is spent cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding donors. Fundraisers can’t, and shouldn’t, do it alone.

So, how can fundraising professionals continually engage organizational leaders for the greater good of the mission and work together? For most of us, it all begins with the “golden triangle” of fundraising.

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Topics: Organizational Culture, Catholic Fundraising Resources, Annual Conference

Meaningful Stewardship…For Your Donors!

Posted by Dawn M.S. Miller, CFRE on 7/13/16 10:00 AM

I remember the first time I heard the word “stewardship” connected with philanthropy and donors. I was fresh out of college, in my first fundraising role, and trying to absorb as much about the world as possible (I knew nothing at that point). Our fundraising team was asked to brainstorm some unique stewardship ideas. I was hoping to pick up a few pearls of stewardship wisdom and instead everyone was silent—aside from a grumble about thank you notes and lists.

Flash forward 20 years and I certainly hope we have evolved beyond silence, a standard acknowledgement letter (“Thank you for your gift of…”), or running donor lists (“We’ll just put our donor names in the Annual Report.”)

Blah, blah, blah! Where’s the stewardship creativity?

Yes, of course we should continue to send acknowledgement letters, make thank you calls, and use other traditional means to steward our donors. But what can our nonprofits do to stand out? How can we keep our donors engaged and involved? How can we show our gratitude beyond a simple “thank you?”

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and data, we need to break through the noise and get to the heart of donor relationships. Here are a few stewardship moves that go beyond the mundane…

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Topics: Donor Development