National "Thank a Volunteer" Month

A recent conversation with someone new to Maximizing Excellence brought up this questions: who do you work with? We work with organizations who want to improve their effectiveness and the individuals responsible for getting the results. The organizations are by and large nonprofits. And the majority of individuals we work with...

Continue reading here


Ready or Not? Go with Ready. 

As a consultant, a donor, or a spectator, my involvement with capital campaigns would be considered extensive compared to most. Likely for that reason I was recently asked an interesting question:

Continue reading here


How Did We Get Here? Four Lessons Learned After 10 Years in Business

Maximizing Excellence celebrates ten years on July 15, 2020. TEN YEARS! Life sure looks a bit different than it did ten years ago. I had some very valuable lessons to learn. Ten years later, this is what I know to be true:

Continue reading here


Fundraising in Crisis Formula

Equations can simplify even the most complicated scenarios. Take for instance fundraising in times of crisis. If your experience has been at all like mine in recent weeks you have been bombarded with information, recommendations, and varying perspectives on what the heck to do.

Continue reading here


Partners in Mission and Impact

At Maximizing Excellence, we have a partner-first mentality. We partner with organizations who want to improve their effectiveness and acheive high impact. We believe we are responsible for more than expertise in a partnership. We strive to be...

Continue reading here


Always Ask

Volunteers often express the desire for increased connection and synergy with fellow volunteers as a way to enhance their experience and productivity. Inspired by an esteemed colleague and client of ours, this past year we began incorporating a Question of the Day.

Continue reading here


Leading by Mission

Over 160 nonprofit leaders across South Dakota gathered for the 4th Annual Camp Capacity Building in October, facilitated by our firm in partnership with Citi and Helpline Center. This year’s theme, Leading by Mission, was built upon the framework that the best decisions are made with mission in mind.

Continue reading here


Rethinking Campaigns

It’s not just you. There really are campaigns running all the time. Why? Because campaigns work. They are one of the most successful and shiny fundraising mechanisms available to fundraisers. A campaign, however, is not the answer to every new initiative or expansion effort proposed within an organization; it is not...

Continue reading here


Lead by Example, Lead by Mission

According to Merriam-Webster, to lead by example is to act in a way that shows others how to act. We have been inspired to tweak this saying for the nonprofits we mentor: lead by mission.

Continue reading here


Millennials in the News

Much time has been spent trying to predict how Millennials will mature into donors and transform the philanthropic platform to fit their style. Insight is growing as the cohort ages. A new study by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that Millennials are ready to give bigger gifts and support new causes this year. 46% of donors under 35 said they were going to give...

Continue reading here


What's Our Why

March is National Social Work Month and as an office with three proud social workers on the team, we thought we would answer "What's our why?" for social work.

"Social work, to me, is the most complete and effective way to change lives. Whether with small groups, through an organization, or even in a...

Continue reading here


It's All In The Approach

We pride ourselves on being a strengths-based work environment. Subscribing to two key assumptions about each team member:

  • Each person’s talents are enduring and unique.
  • Each person’s greatest room for growth is in the areas of their strength.

Continue reading here


Craft Impactful Messaging for Your Campaign

The January 2019 issue of The Major Gifts Report features Cindy Peterson as a content expert on campaign messaging.

You can check out the issue here:

The Major Gifts Report Jan 2019

Reading a Philanthropist's Mind

Is there a way to gauge the choices, motivations, and influences of a philanthropist? This question was asked and answered in the recently published “Going Beyond Giving” study. The study compiled data from 219 high net worth and ultra-high net worth philanthropists. Here are our three key takeaways from the study:

Continue reading here



We are all faced with making difficult decisions at times. Whether it is in our personal or professional lives, some decisions can feel impossible. How do you maneuver through the decision-making process, especially when it is something that you want to do but know it is in your best interest to say no?
By asking yourself a few questions, it can help to make the decision a little easier.

Continue reading here


Who runs the world? Facilitators!

A facilitator’s main objective is to look at a planning process objectively and to keep the discussion on track while building consensus with individual ideas and opinions. Utilizing an outside facilitator can make or break the success of your strategic planning retreat – or any function that involves aligning differing perspectives toward a common goal.

Continue reading here