Frequently Asked Questions

Simple Development Systems | The Membership Program

What is the difference, if any, between Simple Development Systems and other membership programs? 

Simple Development Systems was created based around the book, Simple Development Systems, which was, in turn, based upon the recommendations of Dr. Adrian Sargeant in the report, Growing Philanthropy in the United States and the recommendations of Penelope Burk in her book, Donor-Centered Leadership.  The program is focused on building donor-focused organizations from the ground up, and was structured with the small to mid-sized nonprofit organization in mind.  You’ll learn the fundamentals of great fundraising and creating the culture of philanthropy within your organization.  You’ve got limited time, money and resources. And I’m all about Simple Development Systems, which means building your donor base – and, eventually major gifts – in a systematized way.  

Can more than one staff member attend the monthly webinars? 

Absolutely.  I encourage you to involve staff, including program staff, volunteers and board members in this process.  You may include up to eight team members on every eCourse and up to two additional team members on webinars.

How many webinars are scheduled every month?

We schedule at least one and sometimes two live webinars.  All webinars occur on either a Tuesday or Wednesday at 1:00 PM EST.  And all webinars are recorded and archived.

We’ve been around for 30 years now, but have relied primarily on government training.  Now that’s drying up and we need to grow our individual donor base.  Is your program good for a more established nonprofit?

It is.  Oftentimes more established nonprofits have built up silos and become entrenched in some bad habits.  Simple Development Systems is focused on growing your individual donor base and doing it in a way that is wholly donor-focused.

There is a lot of free training out there.  Why should I pay for yours?

Ah the dark side of *free.*  Are you where you want to be?  Are your executive director, staff, board members, and volunteers effectively moving forward together, with a solid plan in place?  Does your fundraising flow like a well-oiled machine? 

It’s the cobbled-together mindset of training that’s brought us to where we are today.  With SDS you’ll have a plan going forward, training by the best (no time-wasters here), and a focus -- rather than scrambling around for *free* resources.

This seems almost like too much training.  How will I keep up?

There is no magic bullet.  You get what you put into it.  Simple Development Systems is a fairly comprehensive training program, but one that was designed for the time constraints of your small nonprofit.  If you can devote one hour a week to reviewing and implementing the concepts of SDS, you will experience success.

What is the time commitment and schedule for the program? Is it flexible and does it allow periods of time (for example one week) without computer access? 

Simple Development Systems was created for you to work at your own pace.  I will say this, however, the organizations that experience the greatest success with SDS are those organizations that make it a point to attend each and every webinar.

I am looking at the membership program for our organization. I have sat in on many webinars and seminars originating from the U.S. and many are targeted specifically for organizations operating in the U.S. My organization is Canadian and our area of scope is fairly local. Do you think there is enough content (in webinars etc.) that is universal or is most of it targeted to U.S. organizations?

Great fundraising is universal!  Simple Development Systems | The Membership Program focuses solely on donor-centered fundraising, which knows no regional boundaries :). The only training on the calendar which might pertain solely to US-based nonprofits is the foundation grant-writing training, which is focused primarily on US-based foundations.  

What if we decide that SDS is not for us?

SDS requires a one-year commitment. You are free to cancel at any time after that.

Just got your promotion for Simple Development System Membership Program.  Is it a 12 month deal no matter when one signs up?  I still have not been able to get to the Direct Mail Fundraising course I signed up for in 2013 and am musing about whether becoming a member will just end up the same way.  I'm the solo pastor of a small church, .25 FTE regional worker, and am trying to move our church and 501c3 forward at the same time.  Thoughts?

That's a good question.  The answer:  it will be ready for you when you're ready.  The webinars are all recorded and available within a few days...the materials are live on the site and available to access when you're ready.  BUT I would recommend getting into the habit of devoting the 12 hours a month to learning - to actually attending in person and thinking about how the materials work for you.  Remember my response to the Underdeveloped report? "If you're not committed to funding your mission, you're not committed to your mission."

Will you be covering finding and securing big donors?

SDS has presented a number of major gift trainings, led by Jeff Schreifels of the Veritus Group, Gail Perry, Rory Green, Brian Saber, and Amy Eisenstein.

Are there any guarantees? 

Your outcomes depend on your commitment.  Nothing works if it’s not implemented.  That said, SDS comes with a full money-back guarantee. 

We are an affiliate organization.  Do you offer pricing that would cover all of our members? 

Yes.  Each situation is different, however.  Please contact me directly for more information.