Smartideas

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

If Less Than 80% of Your Volunteers are Giving, Something Is Wrong

We customize our approaches for each client, whether it is for consulting or training, by looking at their longitudinal data to identify predictive patterns. Using… Read More


Most Senior Fundraisers Don’t Need Training; They Need Treatment

You’re always outnumbered. No matter how much fundraising experience and philanthropic wisdom you acquire, you’re always surrounded by completely inexperienced people who assume they know… Read More


What’s Your Reason for Requesting The First Meeting With a Prospective Donor?

What’s your reason for requesting the first meeting with a prospective donor? The ones I hear most often, including the ones used on me, include:… Read More


Planting Seeds: The Step Before Cultivation

Funny how we use the word “cultivation” so often but rarely address the preceding step, “planting.” Philanthropic potential is like fertile ground. Figuring out which… Read More


The Days of Easy Fundraising are Over

The days of easy fundraising are over. Now we need to face up to the hard parts of securing and sustaining philanthropic confidence. I’m sorry… Read More


Comfort Zones: The Places That Foster the Fullest Expressions of Philanthropy

My concern with so much of traditional fundraising is that it puts one or more parties in an uncomfortable position. Donors feel as if they… Read More


The Essence of Philanthropy: A Vision That Endures

I believe: Fundraising and philanthropy are not interchangeable terms, that the former is dependent on the latter; if fundraising assumes that philanthropy exists to serve… Read More


Why You Need to Revolutionize Your Fundraising

A giving revolution has already occurred. So, the longer you wait to adapt to it, the farther behind you will fall. Even the healthiest, highest… Read More


What Unrestricted Funds and Phone Booths Have In Common

People aren’t interested in them anymore. If you fancy yourself clever, persuasive, charismatic, or irresistible, I challenge you to see how many people you can… Read More


Fundraising Metrics Vs. The Natural Rhythms of Philanthropy

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” It’s been cited as one of the two most important quotes about business. The author is… Read More


How to Retain Your Best Fundraisers and Donors – Listen

When we poll fundraisers in advance of team practices (I don’t like the word “training” because people aren’t pets), we see very similar responses across… Read More


The Power of Building Relationships: Why Donors Need Good Fundraisers

Why, of all people, would a donor want to build a relationship with a fundraiser? If you are a donor, it sounds like a questionable… Read More


What Happens When We Don’t Understand the Why of Giving

Not as many people give according to our “strategic pillars” as we would like to believe or as our fundraising reports suggest. In fact, we… Read More


Yes, you have to spend money to raise money, but…

A lot of money spent on fundraising has little or no effect on fundraising results. And when you spend money on the wrong things, you… Read More


How Balanced or Imbalanced is Your Fundraising?

Fundraising should be as comfortable as two people exploring possibilities. If done wisely and well, fundraising is nothing more than two people exploring possibilities. That… Read More


Fundraising Requires A Great Deal of Courage – Not Just the Courage to Ask

I hear it often. I ask an advancement leader how a particular fundraiser is doing or ask a president how an advancement leader is doing… Read More


The Unmeasurable Impact of Human Connection in Advancement

The most important part of advancement is something we can’t measure. It’s the problem with all fundraising systems and process charts. They depict human decision-making… Read More


From “Giving To” to “Giving Through”: The Great Philanthropic Shift

In 2007, after listening to a lot of donors and conducting a lot of research, I advised, “Don’t just ask you donors to give to… Read More


Revolutionizing Fundraising by Building a Philanthropic Supply Chain

Donors are looking for a better philanthropic value proposition.  They want to know how their dollars will be turned into differences. Traditional fundraising loses four out… Read More


Why Standard Fundraising Practices Are Hurting Your Philanthropic Partnerships

So much of standard fundraising practice is inconsistent with philanthropic partnership building. Would you enter into, feel comfortable with, or stay in a partnership if… Read More


Effective Fundraising Strategy is Rooted In Fundraising Fact

Everyone Is entitled to their own fundraising opinions but not their own fundraising facts. That’s what the brilliant Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, without the reference… Read More


Fundraising Success: The Road Less Valued

I began noticing the disparities early in my fundraising career. Much of the fundraising advice shared at professional conferences did not seem to accurately reflect… Read More


For Stronger Philanthropic Partnerships: Match and Share Back Stories

I wasn’t interested in many Olympic sports until someone came up with the clever idea of preceding them with insightful and inspiring stories about the… Read More


A Great Disservice Some Fundraisers Do To Fundraising: Play to The Stereotype

Which stereotype do fundraisers play to? The one that perpetuates false expectations, that makes the best work seem insignificant, and causes honest feedback from fundraisers… Read More


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