Smartideas

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

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


What So Many Fundraising Appeals Miss: People Want to Help People

While fewer numbers of people are giving to institutions, they continue to give in ways they find more interpersonal. They include: Grandparents helping put their… Read More


A Prospect We Must Entertain: Recession

The word “advancement” connotes forward movement. That requires forward thinking.  Responsible leadership at both the organizational and advancement level requires bifocal vision – seeing and seizing… Read More


The Three Characteristics That Distinguish the Best Advancement Practitioners

What are the three characteristics that distinguish the best advancement practitioners? Integrity, Curiosity, and Discipline. Of the three, integrity is the most important. It entails… Read More


The Zoology of Fundraising: More Chameleons, Fewer Peacocks

The Education Advisory Board, after analyzing donations to 1,217 major-gift officers at 89 colleges and universities in the United States and Britain, concluded the most… Read More


The Pathway to a Significant Philanthropic Investment is Not Paved With Just “Visits”

A common KPI used to evaluate fundraisers is the number of visits they pay on prospects in their portfolios. It should be replaced by PPIs… Read More


How to Find A Good Advancement Leader: Ask the Right Questions

You’ve had a least one bad boss or worked in at least one depleting advancement operation. Now you’re interviewing for a job and want to… Read More


The Faces of Philanthropy: Are They Changing?

The list below was an attempt by Forbes Magazine to capture the “faces of philanthropy” way back in 1994. It’s interesting because it is from… Read More


The Seven Principles of Advancement Leadership

I recently had the pleasure of orienting a new chief advancement officer who is coming to the position from another field. It provided me the… Read More


What Advancement Must Become: Builders of Communities of Shared Interest

You don’t have to poke too far into most nonprofits’ fundraising results to see significant donor erosion, usually masked by a few large gifts each… Read More


The Key to Better Fundraising Results: Less Training, More Practice

What happens all too often when advancement leaders announce that they’re bringing in an expert to train their staff? Some staff members get their backs… Read More


How Confident Is Your Fundraising Posture?

Put the proposition in human terms.  Imagine two people that you observe on multiple occasions: One seems to be playing a role, the other seems comfortable… Read More


How Stereotyping Wealth Leads to Missed Fundraising Opportunities

When you think about the wealthiest of earners in the U.S., those who fall into the top 0.1 percent, who comes to mind? For most,… Read More


Better Fundraising Begins With Better Terminology

Words matter. They shape our thoughts. Our thoughts shape our actions and influence our decisions. The lexicon of fundraising is full of one-way terms, as… Read More


The Great Resignation: An Advancement Perspective

Okay, so maybe all that talk about millions of people shucking their jobs and living off the grid was overstated. With a few more miles… Read More


Fundraising Success: Leveraging Your Value Propositions

Donors make more personal and practical calculations in their giving decisions than most organizational and advancement leaders recognize. Alumni most likely to give to their alma… Read More


12 Keys to Conducting Effective Donor Interviews

Curiosity is a fundraisers greatest asset. Yet even the most curious must learn to ask questions that yield the most insight into donor motivation and… Read More


The Most Important Lessons Learned by Retail Clothes Stores: With Obvious Parallels to Fundraising

If customers don’t see themselves in what you offer, they won’t come in the store. Those that come in are often “just looking’. If a… Read More


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