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Big Dreams, Little Assets: Why Our Series for Small Shops is a Must-Have

By Matthew Helmer

We’ve all been there. At conferences, webinars, flipping through magazines, and scrolling through social feeds. Inspiration abounds in the Information Age—and most days our list of ideas far exceeds our perceived capacity to implement. Be it budget, time, or workforce— many of our most imaginative notions are quickly shelved by a sense that the example we’ve seen took more resources than our organization could ever conjure.

But what if I told you there is more than meets the eye? Let’s call it the Instagram Effect—onscreen it looks almost perfect, but behind the scenes there’s a whole lot of stretching, pushing, cutting, and clawing to get the end result. Big or small, all our shops must make choices, compromises, and concessions to scale those big, bold ideas to our own reality. This doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice quality, though—and honing our adaptation skills is a surefire way to unlock a new superpower at work. It’s also the essence to answering one of the most popular questions we receive at DRG conferences and webinars: “How can I do this at my organization when we have limited budget/staff/time/all of the above?”

That’s why I’m so excited about the DRG Group’s new series launching next week —The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations for Small Nonprofit Shops. In six hour-long webinars, our team will reveal the keys to transforming a donor relations program for those of us who have limited time, staffing and budget. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of attainable, sustainable practices that anyone can implement, designed specifically for small teams. And — bonus! — the series is the brainchild of our DRG Associates, whose vast and varied experience at nonprofits of all different shapes and sizes will animate The 4 Pillars of Donor Relations like never before.

I’m giddy just thinking about it because I get it—I’ve been in that place of awe, thinking to myself, “How on earth will we ever pull that off?!” For me, it was listening to a conference presentation about a multimillion-dollar outdoor event featuring legendary celebrities and 100% wireless audio-visual technology. Mind boggling inspiration, y’all! Did I go home and replicate that event for my own organization’s donors? No. Did my multimillion-dollar donor recognition budget get funded? Absolutely not. But it did spark my rethinking of how we use technology in events to enhance the guest experience, and many of the underlying principles of what I heard have stuck with me in my own planning efforts ever since.

Therein lies the secret to unleashing the power of adaptation—detaching from the literal example presented and identifying the key takeaways that apply to our own work. That’s what this new series is all about—scalability of the “must-haves” so that you and your favorite coworkers (which, in a small shop, might also be you) can deliver rockstar donor relations no matter the size or scope of your resources.

So, I hope you’ll take some time to invest in yourself and your organization’s donors by joining us for this one-of-a-kind series made just for you. I’ll be tuning in with my Big Ideas notebook in hand, ready to turn dreams into action!

Matthew S. Helmer, aka The Unicorn, brings more than two decades of nonprofit fundraising, donor relations, and constituent engagement experience to his role as Consultant and Strategist with the DRG Group. Partner with Matthew to elevate the donor experience at your organization by contacting, and connect with Matthew on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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