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By the Grace of God: Interview with Linda Domeyer on The Petrus Development Show

Linda Domeyer, Director of Leadership Giving, St. Louis University High; Consultant, Petrus Development 

In this episode of The Petrus Development Show, Andrew visits with Linda Domeyer, Director of Leadership Giving at St. Louis University High as well as Consultant for Petrus Development. Linda’s first job in development was for the Washington University Catholic Student Center, where she spent 17 years building a fantastic development program. In this episode, Linda and Andrew talk about how she initially learned about development, her first capital campaign experience, transitioning to a robust annual fund strategy and what she loves most about consulting. Linda also shares about the most expensive failure of her career.

Show Notes:

  • Linda first exposure to development was when she was working as a group travel host and met a development officer from UNC-Chapel Hill. He explained to Linda that development is different than sales. It’s about connecting with donors and introducing them to ways that they can make a difference for institutions and causes that are important to them.
  • When Linda began at the Washington University Catholic Student Center, it was to help Fr. Gary raise the money to expand the student center. They were raising about $275K per year and set a goal of $5M for the building campaign. It took a lot of work, but they were successful and actually exceeded the goal and raised $6.5M. Today, their annual fund goal is $1.4M.
  • As part of their campaign, they received a $1.25M gift to endow a Chair of Catholic Thought for Wash U. This is a great addition to the university and serves the Catholic Center in a unique and beneficial way as well.
  • Linda said that the most critical thing activity in the beginning was going out and meeting people.
  • Following the capital campaign, the Catholic Center’s transition to the Annual Fund was really a chance to start many programs that had not been attended to during the campaign. This included the Class Gift Program, building an EFT base, asking for multi-year annual fund pledges and more. Creativity in the role is what kept Linda in the job after the campaign. Her caution is to avoid chasing down every new idea that comes around.
  • When their campaign ended, they dissolved their campaign committee and established a new Advancement Council. Out of that, they created other committees: facilities, programming, staffing, finance and development. They hand selected the members who were most committed to fundraising and could open doors. Engagement leads to investment. The Advancement Council was charged with always keeping a long-term focus and outlook. Staff can get mired in the day-to-day but volunteers can help set long-term vision.
  • Fundraising for programming proved to be more challenging than capital because it is tougher to quantify. Development professionals can help this process by guiding ministry staff to keep better metrics for their programs.
  • Linda has three lessons for new development officers:
    1. Get good systems in place but don’t spend so much time on systems that you forget to get out and meet your donors.
    2. Build a good network of colleagues. Connect through groups like AFP and the Petrus Conference.
    3. Don’t forget about individuals who did not matriculate through the University. The largest annual fund donor to the CSC was not Catholic when he attended Wash U but believe in the mission.

For more information about Linda Domeyer and her work or to connect with her, visit or

Giving to religious causes vastly exceeds any other category in the nonprofit sector, but faith-based organizations often struggle the most with fundraising effectively. Join Andrew Robison, President of Petrus Development, as he explores this topic through honest and revealing conversations with church leaders, executive directors and development professionals from the nonprofit community.


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