A Cause Greater

A Blog from Lon Swartzentruber

Your New Wine and New Wineskin

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on May 25, 2021 6:45:00 AM

If memory serves, every blog that I've ever written comes from experiences with clients. The stories that you read are from their journey, a hero's journey really, shared with you as I walk with them along their way.

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Topics: process consulting, capital campaigns, donor clarity, Design Group International, Fundraising, a cause greater, donor relationships, leading organizational change, donor development, listening, helping, learning, organizational consulting, relationships, Enneagram

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Apr 20, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Building an authentic relationship, whether it is with a donor, potential investor, partner, professional colleague, or friend, takes time.

When building deep, authentic relationships, it can help to think in three time-related dimensions…yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

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Topics: process consulting, capital campaigns, donor clarity, Design Group International, Fundraising, donor relationships, leading organizational change, donor development, advancement, listening, helping, future, learning, organizational consulting, past, present, relationships

How do we learn as an organization?

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Mar 18, 2021 8:00:00 AM


Listening. Helping. Learning.


Engaging these three behaviors is at the heart of being a vibrant and transformational organization. Over the past two months, we have been taking a deep dive into a story of how one client organization, a nationally recognized nature center, embraced these behaviors to transform itself and how its surrounding community helped guide the way.

To recap our story thus far, it all started with an executive director who created space for his organization to listen. Listen to staff, to board members, and most importantly, to the broader community. The power of posing a question, especially from a posture of humble inquiry, as articulated by Edgar Schein, places the other person at the center of the conversation.

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Topics: process consulting, Design Group International, leading organizational change, listening, helping, learning, organizational consulting, customer value

How do we deliver help as an organization?

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Feb 16, 2021 7:00:00 AM


Listening. Helping. Learning.


Engaging these behaviors as an organization is at the heart of being a vibrant and transformational organization. In this series of blogs, we are taking a deep dive into a story of how one client organization, a nationally recognized nature center, embraced these behaviors to transform itself and how its surrounding community helped to lead the way.

Delivering help to someone, let alone a large and diverse community serving hundreds of thousands of people, can be easier said than done. When someone asks us for help, our natural tendency is to think in terms of ourselves. Such as, what would I find helpful in this situation? What would I do if I were in their situation? Unfortunately, this may not actually deliver the help needed or desired.

This is why we must first listen.

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Topics: process consulting, Design Group International, leading organizational change, listening, helping, organizational consulting, customer value

How do we listen as an organization?

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Jan 19, 2021 7:00:00 AM


Listening. Helping. Learning.


Engaging these three behaviors as an organization is at the heart of becoming a vibrant and transformational organization. Over the next three months, we will be taking a deep dive into a story of how one client organization, a nationally recognized nature center, embraced these behaviors to transform itself and how its surrounding community helped to lead the way.

First, a little background. It all started with an executive director who created space for his organization to listen. He wanted the organization to listen to staff, board members, key community stakeholders, and long-time partners. For many leaders, this is hard to do. Leaders can get comfortable in what they are doing, how they are doing it, and the results they are getting.

However, because of COVID-19, the organization was forced to cancel nearly all revenue-generating programs, which precipitated a 30% drop in revenue, which in turn depleted available resources to meet important operational needs. Instead of holing up in a proverbial bunker, the organization began asking hard questions…of itself and from its community.

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Topics: process consulting, Design Group International, leading organizational change, Peter Drucker, listening, organizational consulting, customer value

Special Announcement

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Dec 15, 2020 7:45:00 AM

Dear friends,

Design Group International is pleased to announce three new Senior Consultants have joined its team of process consultants adding to the collective strength and service to clients.

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Topics: Process Consultation, nonprofit leadership, lifelong learning, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, strategic interim leadership, stewardship services, Design Group International, Fundraising, fund raising, leadership and communication, Change Management, continuous learning, lon swartzentruber, leading organizational change, advancement, nonprofits, coaching, crisis communication, change, listening, helping, learning, Eric Doss, Steve Slagel, Rose Shetler

Lots of Grace & Lots of Space

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Nov 23, 2020 9:15:00 AM

It seems now more than ever; we each need more grace and more space in our lives.

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Topics: Process Consultation, governance, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, leadership and communication, executive learning, lon swartzentruber, sustaining relationships, advancement, nonprofits, coaching, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Humble Leader, listening, humble inquiry, Grace

Listening for Unasked Questions

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Sep 17, 2020 6:30:00 AM

As the ramifications of COVID-19 have rippled through our economy, the questions posed to leaders have taken on a heightened sense of urgency:

  • My child is living on campus in the dorm. What happens if she tests positive for COVID-19?
  • We’ve been working remotely for six months. When can we all return to the office?
  • My board members are in the weeds now more than ever. How can I help them get back to focusing on bigger issues?
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Topics: Process Consultation, nonprofit leadership, lifelong learning, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, capital campaigns, stewardship services, Fundraising, fund raising, leadership and communication, Change Management, leadership communication, fundraising philosophy, lon swartzentruber, advancement, nonprofits, coaching, crisis communication, crisis, Coronavirus, COVID-19, listening, humble inquiry, Edgar Schein, helping

Three Essential Elements of a Successful Fundraising Campaign: Element #3: Time as Your Ally

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Aug 4, 2020 7:00:00 AM

When developing relationships around a common sense of purpose, time has to be your ally. The more quality time you spend with someone, the better your relationship with them will be. There is no substitute for being together in authentic ways. Nowhere is this truer than in fundraising. Even during the global pandemic, we are finding new ways of being together.

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Topics: Process Consultation, nonprofit leadership, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, capital campaigns, stewardship services, Fundraising, fund raising, leadership and communication, capital campaign communications, Change Management, leadership communication, fundraising philosophy, lon swartzentruber, advancement, nonprofits, fundraising and campaign consulting, coaching, crisis communication, crisis, Coronavirus, COVID-19

Three Essential Elements of a Successful Fundraising Campaign: Element #2: Relationships

Posted by Lon Swartzentruber on Jul 21, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Anything worth doing is worth doing well and to the very best of your ability. Embarking on a fundraising campaign is no exception. Your organization’s mission and the people you serve depend on it!

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Topics: Process Consultation, nonprofit leadership, organizational purpose, Non-Profit Leadership, capital campaigns, stewardship services, Fundraising, fund raising, leadership and communication, capital campaign communications, Change Management, leadership communication, fundraising philosophy, relationship building, lon swartzentruber, donor relationships, sustaining relationships, advancement, nonprofits, fundraising and campaign consulting, coaching, crisis communication, crisis, Coronavirus, COVID-19