Major Giving

Straight talk about major, mid-level and legacy gift fundraising to help you be a better fundraiser

Are fundraising tricks and gimmicks worth doing?

An old book filled with timeless lessons. I was cleaning out a cabinet last weekend and I came across an old book I read long… Read More

Why mistakes are awesome and what to do about them

I know the feeling. A supporter calls to tell you your email or letter spelled her name wrong. She’s pissed! You begin to sweat and your muscles… Read More

If you're asking yourself whether or not direct mail is dead, then you're asking the wrong question

There’s too much talk about whether or not direct mail is dead. Of course it is NOT dead! I get direct mail delivered to me every day.  … Read More

Are you communicating with your supporters too frequently?

When it comes to volume of donor communications, it’s not a matter of how much or how little (especially when it comes to email). It’s… Read More

3 big reasons why email open rates don’t matter (and what you should measure instead)

First, a short story Recently I participated in a roundtable discussion led by a salesperson for one of those cookie-cutter planned giving website companies. She was… Read More

There's power in exclusivity but are you using it?

Unlike populist fundraisers (who treat everyone the same), engagement fundraisers aim to find and build relationships with “first class passengers”— people who are willing to “pay”… Read More

The 4 levels of donor commitment according to Mal Warwick

For those of you who are new to the field, Mal Warwick played a tremendous leadership role in fundraising and direct marketing. In his book… Read More

3 major donor myths broken by Andrew Olsen

Andrew Olsen knows a thing or two about direct marketing. On his blog, he debunks 3 major donor myths that pertain to marketing. You can… Read More

3 ways to use direct mail effectively in the age of social media

Although direct mail requires printing and postage, we still include it in our marketing plans because it can be effective if you do it right…. Read More

7 Solid Reasons Why You Should Kill Your Printed Planned Giving Newsletter

I know, I know… you love your printed planned giving newsletter. After all, it’s an easy marketing option (especially if you buy them from a vendor who… Read More

7 things about email subject lines that will help you save the world

Firstly, email subject lines are actually headlines. The great advertising legend David Ogilvy once said, “On average, five times as many people read the headlines… Read More

How NOT to write a letter to your supporter community

Here’s the copy (below) from an old letter sent by my alma mater. In 2012 they achieved their goal and raised $1 billion but, in my… Read More

What a terrific advertisement!

I really can’t say it any better than this ad thanks to LegacyVoice, a legacy administration and marketing firm based in the UK. Folks, it’s… Read More

The top 10 reasons why your donor outreach fails

Here’s a list of top 10 reasons why your donor outreach fails: #10. It’s boring #9. It’s impersonal #8. It’s irrelevant #7. It lacks emotion… Read More

How to use verbatims and digital body language to raise more money

Recently I was interviewed by Mazarine at Wild Woman Fundraising! You can hear the interview here. There’s one big point from the interview I figured you’d want… Read More

16 Content Ideas Your Major and Planned Gift Donors Will Love

Infographics Short, “self-contained” emails (with no hyperlinks) that include very brief updates Short letters or online articles (2-3 paragraphs) Highly relevant and targeted medium length… Read More

Dr. Russell James' Greatest Hits: Free fundraising webinars and eBooks

Want more interesting research from Dr. James? Here you go: News from the Ivory Tower: Webinar   Words that Work: Webinar Words that Work: eBook… Read More

Stop filling space!

This ad for Volkswagen was (and still is) one of the greatest ads of all time. It was simple and powerful. It turned a negative… Read More

4 essential questions to ask yourself about your planned or major gift direct mail program

1. Are you really doing direct mail well? I like to say, “Be donor-centric. Be personalized. Be relevant. Or be gone!” If you’re sending tons… Read More

2 big reasons why email open rates are meaningless and 3 things you should track instead

This drives me crazy. I keep hearing so-called planned giving experts congratulate themselves for getting phenomenal open rates from their e-blasts even though email open… Read More

2 things you need to know for direct marketing

If you’re working on a direct marketing effort for major and/or planned gifts, there are just two things you need to know: 1. What’s really… Read More

3 reasons to run an OPT-OUT campaign

Yes! I said you should run an OPT-OUT campaign. Not an opt-in campaign. I realize it’s counter-intuitive, but I actually get just a little bit… Read More

15 telephone call don'ts for major and legacy gift fundraisers

Two days ago I outlined my “do’s“. Today, here are my “don’t’s”. Both can be found here on this cheat-sheet. 15 Don’ts Be disingenuous. For… Read More

Why I Like This Ad

1. It’s simple and direct 2. It does not include any legal jargon 3. It does not remind the reader about death or the IRS 4…. Read More

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