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

What We Can Learn From Giving to Higher Education

It’s the enduring appeal of the scholarship. It is a way for one person to help another person realize their potential. The volume of giving… Read More

Putting the Right Idea in Front of The Right Donor in the Right Way at the Right Time

Put the right idea in front of the right door in the right way at the right time. The more consistently you do that, the… Read More

The Great Obstacle To Professional Growth, Fulfillment and Sound Decision Making

The Great Obstacle To Professional Growth, Fulfillment and Sound Decision Making It’s the need to be more honest with ourselves. It’s more than self-knowledge. It’s… Read More

What Is and Isn’t Philanthropic

To be philanthropic is to acknowledge that we are in this together; that: Your misfortune is mine because I have been lucky and you have… Read More

What They Don’t Teach in Fundraising School

Do you know what they don’t teach in fundraising school? The situational realities of fundraising, such as: You’re given a goal far greater than any… Read More

The Heavy Lifts of Fundraising

Seemingly random events earlier in our lives actually serve as omens for what we will encounter the rest of our lives. For me, it was… Read More

A Positive Trend In Fundraising That’s Applicable to All We Do

“What trends are you seeing across your peer group or aspirant peers?” I asked a client team last week. “Campaigns that play down the monetary… Read More

Philanthropic Facilitation and the Art of Matchmaking

As Carlo Robustelli, V.P. of College Advancement at Dickinson College explains, “We’re not miracle workers, we’re matchmakers.” Carlo is trying to help his colleagues outside… Read More

The Real Way to Raise Money

Do you want to know the real way to raise money? It’s not complicated. Provide donors with what money can’t buy. Philanthropic experiences that money… Read More

The Way You Fundraise Matters

There are lots of ways to fundraise. All of them can be said to work in some ways but the way you fundraise: Determines the… Read More

Fundraising’s Worst Oversimplification

Fundraising’s worst oversimplification is: “People give because they’re asked.” That’s like saying those who agree to marry do so simply “because they were asked.” Yes,… Read More

The Most Important Fundraising Metric: The 20-Year Relationship

When we conduct our Vital Signs Assessment, looking for indicators of fundraising success or struggle ahead, one data point stands out far more than any… Read More

Don’t Just “Find” Donors; Build Relationships for Lasting Impact

“Where do we find donors?” I’m asked that question quite a bit. To begin, let’s make sure we check all assumptions at the door. Donors… Read More

Revolutionize Fundraising: Let’s Stop Making it Uncomfortable

If something about fundraising makes you uncomfortable, it isn’t because there’s something wrong with you but because there’s something wrong with the way you’re fundraising,… Read More

It’s About Lots of Meaningful Interactions, Not Major Moves

The most important goals in managing prospects or donors in our portfolios are: Establishing a rapport with donors Maintaining contact Finding ways for them to… Read More

The Two Most Important Words in Philanthropic Facilitation: “Because You”

The two most important words in philanthropic facilitation are, “Because you”. As in: “Because you have such a vested interest in the empowerment of girls… Read More

The Tragedy of Transactional Fundraising

Practitioners of transactional fundraising and the cultures who default to it will never know, see, foster, or benefit from the best in human nature and… Read More

Philanthropic Partnership Building Begins With Setting the Right Tone

Gone are the days – or so they should be: Of imagining in splendid isolation what donors should do for us then foisting our brain… Read More

How Fundraising Overcomplicated Philanthropic Facilitation

Philanthropic facilitation is as old as human history. It began when two or more people saw a common need or opportunity and resolved to work… Read More

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

Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!