NCDC in Nashville

We are back!

The Design BIG Dreams team had a great time at the annual National Catholic Development Conference! We were impressed with the overall organization of the conference, the great support we received from the NCDC staff and Board, and the great hospitality from NCDC Members and the Nashville community!

We started the conference with a dance…yes, some of us better than others. Christina and Anthony stole the dance floor! While many of our colleagues were in awe of their smooth technique, I think the rest of the team and I were more enticed to jump on in and join them. It wasn’t until some classics from the 70’s/80’s were played by the live band, that I got my dancing shoes on! I hopped right in with our NCDC friends and to my plesant surprise, I got to share some dance moves with NCDC Executive Director, Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, OSF. We shared some laughs and did the “grocery cart” and the “lawn mower” together, I am sure many people enjoyed watching and I am hoping Sr. Georgette keeps practicing those moves for next year!

The next couple days we were swamped at the booth, handing out USB’s (The only handouts at the conference that conserved paper and were tech-savy!) and showing people that integrating technology in their advancement strategies are critical to the success of any organization. We had the great opportunity of meeting ABLE Families Executive Director, Sr. Patricia Ann Murray, OSF and learn about her great mission. ABLE Families mission is “to confront the systemic causes of poverty by supporting low-income families as they make positive changes in their lives.” ABLE Families is committed to collaboration not duplication. ( and she had an interesting challenge for the DBD Team. Sr. Pat was not new to the organization, but rather her postion as Executive Director. While she came to us originally with the intention of getting information on a website quote, she let us in on a more immediate concern, getting access to make minor changes to her site. She needed us to convert her site to a user-friendly CMS program so she can get some immediate updates completed on her site. Now, she probably thought that this immediate need could be hammered out with the right people in a couple weeks…we responded with “No problem, we will send you a quote for the project and can get started immediately.” Before you know it, she walked out of the conference a DBD client AND with a website she could update.

One of the neat constructions of our booth, was the mirrored computers that were set up. Easily, among the other exhibitors we had the most monitors and technology up and ready to go for our clients. We were running through your needs on “alpha” while we were also servicing potential clients with examples that could provide solutions to their needs. One in particular was Dr. Donald R. McCrabb with the Catholic Youth Foundation. Don is the President of the organizations and was interested in learning more about our website designs. We shared some great information with him, based on his needs. In a workshop I attended, I ran into Don again, this time I wanted to invite him to dinner to learn more about this organizations needs and talk more about how DBD can assist. We shared a great Italian meal with Don and learned about the mission and work of his fundraising organization. Without their support, over 500 youth would not be able to attend the National Catholic Youth Conference each year. Through my work at Old St. Pat’s Foundations group, I know how important this ministry is to the development and support of young people’s faith.  There is no better place to connect with young people, especially young Catholics than where they are most…online.

An interesting topic came up during the weekend…where are all the technology campaigns? The NCDC gives awards each year called the Lumen Awards. These awards highlight the great works from designers and fundraisers that garner support for Catholic organizations across the country. While Anthony and I were scoping out the contestants at the Lumen Award booth, we noticed that all the nominations were direct mail campaigns. We understand the importance of direct mail in the fundraising strategies of Catholic organizations, but we also beg to question, isn’t there a population we are missing? Isn’t there a more affordable way to communicate and inspire our Catholic donors?

In response to this question, I am working on developing a strategic giving plan for e-mail marketing for parishes to develop and execute an online offertory campaign. This campaign strategy can surely compliment a direct mail piece, but should be explored by organizations that are looking for cost-effective and high-quality fundraising. We are very excited about the additional offerings this could bring our clients in their packages and I look forward to working with any of you reading this post, let us know if you would be interested in scheduling a meeting in regards to this development.

With so much more to write, I must close this post with an optimistic thank you to the incredible NCDC Members, staff, and Board we met last week at the conference. We were thrilled to be a part of the conference and we are looking forward to next year!

Until the next thought,

Katie Price