About Services Annual Manual Education Podcast Blog Jobs Login LETS CONNECT Login

Petrus Blog

Inspire. Educate. Inform.

Become a Petrus Contributor

Freedom in Faith - An Interview with Frank Cummings on the Petrus Development Show

In this episode, Andrew interviews Frank Cummings, Director of Development - Arts and Sciences for the Kansas State University Foundation.  Frank shares how he found a career in development that brings him joy, and how he especially enjoys the surprises that come as donor relationships grow.  Andrew and Frank also discuss how faith can play a role in development even if you’re raising funds for a secular organization.  

Show Notes


After graduating from high school, Frank either wanted to be an Army Ranger or a Catholic priest.  He went to seminary for 4 years, but he eventually left the seminary and went to business school at Benedictine College.  After earning his MBA, Frank became a financial advisor because he wanted to serve people and help them be successful with their money, yet Frank didn’t find this career path to be as fulfilling as he hoped.  After trying a few other options, Frank found himself entering a career...

Continue Reading...

Learning to Tell Your Story - An Interview with Eva Daniel on the Petrus Development Show

In this episode, Andrew chats with Eva Daniel, public speaking coach and founder and owner of The Speak Shop.  Eva and Andrew discuss the importance of improving our public speaking and storytelling abilities.  Eva touches on the mistakes people make in their public speaking, and she offers solutions for improvement.     

Show Notes


Eva was a speech major at Hillsdale College, and after graduation, she worked in radio.  Her radio experience led to a long-term radio show production career at Focus on the Family, and after that, Eva joined Dave Ramsey’s speech writing team.  Though Eva loved her positions at Focus on the Family and with Dave Ramsey, she decided to answer a long-felt call to own her own business. In August 2022, Eva made her entrepreneurial dream come true, and she opened The Speak Shop, her own speech coaching business.   


Life As a Speech Coach

Eva shares her firm belief that the single...

Continue Reading...

The Faithful Hairdresser - A Holy Donors Crossover on the Petrus Development Show


On this week's episode of the Petrus Development Show, we are hosting a crossover event that introduces you to another Petrus podcast called Holy Donors.  Holy Donors is a collaborative production between Petrus and RED-C Catholic Radio that tells stories of radical generosity that changed the world, and Andrew is excited to share the first episode of our Holy Donor's season featuring the Venerable Pierre Toussaint.  



Show Notes

Pierre Toussaint was born into slavery on the French colony of Saint Domingue (Saint Domingue was what we know today as independent Haiti), and he served as a trusted domestic slave to his master Jean Jacques Bérard.  When Bérard and his family fled Saint Domingue in the middle of the Haitian Revolution, they took Pierre Toussaint and his sister Rosalie with them to New York CityIn New York City, Pierre made a name for himself as a hairdresser and a philanthropist.   


Continue Reading...

Are The Dishes Supposed To Be Wet?


By Andrew Robinson, Petrus President


Recently, my family and I stayed in an Airbnb. I had an interesting encounter with an appliance that illustrates a problem that a lot of nonprofit leaders struggle with.

Your dishwasher can actually dry your dishes...


You’re probably wondering why this was so profound. I mean…all dishwashers dry dishes, correct?

Truth is, our home dishwasher does not. We turn on the settings to dry the dishes, but we ALWAYS unload soaking wet cups, plates and silverware. I just figured this was how all dishwashers work. It sort of dries them but they’re always going to be wet.

Hmmm. Weird, right?

You see, sometimes we think something is normal but without context with which to properly evaluate our beliefs, we can actually be dead wrong.

I see this all the time with nonprofits.

“Our fundraiser works really hard but doesn’t actually close many gifts…but I guess that's normal, right?”


Continue Reading...

Swimming with the Piranhas - An Interview with Matt Bond on the Petrus Development Show

In this episode, Andrew visits with Matt Bond, former director of development at the St. John Catholic Student Center at Oklahoma State University.  (Matt changed positions between when this podcast was recorded and when it was published!)  Andrew and Matt chat about Matt’s introduction to becoming a fundraising professional, his work on St. John’s $25 million capital campaign, and his strategies for growing an organization’s donor list.    

Show Notes


Matt served as the director of development at the St. John Catholic Center for over 5 years, and during his tenure there, he led a successful $25+ million capital campaign to build a new student center for the campus.  Matt is currently the executive director for the Santa Fe Family Life Center, and he is also a co-host for Holy Donors, another Petrus podcast.  (Check out Holy Donors here!)


Introduction to Fundraising

When Matt was serving as a youth minister...

Continue Reading...

The End is Coming!

By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor

The end of the year, that is. 


Did you know that about 1/3 of annual giving happens in December? The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a season that encourages generosity. As a result, nonprofits ramp up their “asks.” Also, in the United States, benefactors want the tax advantage of making a gift by December 31st. 


To help your ministry make the most of this time, Petrus Development is bringing together three incredible speakers on a LIVE Year-End Appeals Virtual Summit. This summit will empower you to make your ministry’s direct mail year-end appeal a major revenue generator for less than the cost of a dinner out - a true bargain. Register here. 


One of the speakers is Stan Guimont of Palmer Non-Profit Communications—an expert I’ve worked with many times. Stan has helped countless nonprofits raise millions of dollars in direct mail campaigns. He’s seen just...

Continue Reading...

Is Your Year-End Appeal Up To The Task?

Has your ministry been sending out the same old year-end appeal letter, year after year?

Is your appeal just a shot in the dark? You spend time getting the wording and layout just right, but you don't really know if it is moving the people who read it.

Is your letter even getting read by its recipients, or are most of them just dropping the envelope straight into the kitchen garbage can?

It's time to have confidence that you can design and send year-end appeals that bring your mission to your prospects and motivate them to participate by their financial support.

Let the Experts Show You the Way

On Tuesday, October 18, Petrus is bringing together three great experts to unpack the do's and don't's of appeal letters from every angle:

  • Stan Guimont, Account Manager at Palmer Non-Profit Communications on how to produce a profitable appeal letter
  • Michelle Sutton, Development Director at the Duke Catholic Center on how to use segmentation to make your letters feel more personalized and get...
Continue Reading...

Required Minimum Distributions: A Case Study with a REAL Person

By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor

Cecilia (not her real name, but everything else is true) is an energized Catholic. She aims to
attend daily Mass and give her time, talent, and treasure to help others. She owns and maintains
her own home, and her son is “launched,” earning his own way in the world.


An accountant by profession, she retired 10 years ago at age 62 because that was the age of her
mother when she died. The decision to retire came after much prayer and discernment. With the
retirement plan from her job plus social security, Cecilia more than covers her expenses. In
addition, she has a traditional IRA, but because she doesn’t need those funds to live, she lets the
IRA money continue to grow.


Often, our senior benefactors, like Cecilia, view their IRAs as nest eggs—they don’t need the
available funds to live on, but they like having extra money for future expenses. However, when
they reach age 72, they MUST start withdrawing from...

Continue Reading...

2021 Trends in Philanthropy


By Mary Walker, Petrus Blog Contributor


Latest Information on Giving Trends

Giving USA 2022: The Annual Report on Philanthropy for the Year 2021 was released in June.  The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy researched and wrote the report. 

The following are highlights that I thought would interest Petrus clients and blog readers. The opinions expressed below are my own. If you would like more detail, summary information is available for free here. You can subscribe to the ENTIRE report here.



  • Strong Giving Trend in 2020 Continued in 2021


In 2020, the year that we adjusted our fundraising programs and expectations due to COVID, more money was given than in any previous year studied--and about 5% more than in 2019. See last year’s blog post for my analysis of why 2020 was a time of great generosity.

When adjusted for inflation, the amount given in 2021 was essentially flat. So, the bad news is that...

Continue Reading...

The Power of Brand: Fundraising with Stories - A Talk by Jacob Laskowski

In this episode, we feature Jacob Laskowski, founder and creative director of 86, and we present his recent keynote address from the Petrus Development Conference in June.  Jacob shares his experience in brand development and storytelling, and he highlights ways that professional fundraisers can use the essential elements of brand management to draw donors closer to their organization’s mission and subsequently raise more money for their ministry.  

Show Notes


Jacob Laskowski comes to the Petrus Development Conference to share his experience in brand development and storytelling.  After winning a 2nd grade art contest, Jacob leaned into his enjoyment of art, grew his talent, and eventually realized he could use his art skills as a career.  After working as a FOCUS missionary and as FOCUS’s creative director, Jacob founded 86, a firm that helps organizations and ministries with their messaging, brand identities, and marketing...

Continue Reading...

Stay Connected with News and Updates!