Smartideas

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

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Stop making assumptions about your donors

“Major donors like to give in their backyard.” I call BS! One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that many people think that major… Read More


The 4 Core Values of First-Generation Wealthy Donors You Need to Understand

Wealth is becoming more concentrated among fewer people. You probably know that already. But what you may not understand is that first-generation wealthy people are… Read More


Why your greatest enemy in major gifts fundraising is the status quo

This challenge had me angry for more than a week… “Pharmaceutical sales reps have 15 meetings per day. Why can’t you?” Many years ago, I… Read More


How to Respond When a Major Gifts Prospect Says ‘No’ to Making a Gift

No matter how well your major gifts conversation goes, sometimes the prospect still turns down the opportunity to make a transformational gift. The question for… Read More


5 Reasons Why You Should Focus Your Fundraising On Foundations, Funds, Trusts, and Endowments

Many fundraisers don’t understand the world of big philanthropy. Why not? Because they don’t understand wealth. They don’t understand charitable instruments. So, let’s start with… Read More


How to make sure the experience you deliver to donors makes their giving feel worthwhile

Charity managers’ perspective How should a gift be structured? For charity managers, the answer is easy. The donor should just write a check. Write it… Read More


The Next-Gen Major Gifts Fundraising Metrics Your Nonprofit Should Be Measuring

If you looked up suggestions for which major gifts metrics and KPIs your organization should be measuring, most of what you’d find would seem fairly… Read More


6 Things Your Donors Don’t Care About (That You Assumed They Did)

This news can be shocking to hear and might even make some fundraisers and nonprofit administrators fall out of their seats. But it’s true. Donors… Read More


How to Lower the ‘Cost’ of Philanthropy So Your Supporters Donate Major Gifts of Assets

In fundraising, a gift results when motivation overcomes cost. Increasing motivation helps. So does lowering cost. These make the gift easier. But sometimes, these two processes conflict. Number problems… Read More


How To Use Numbers To Inspire More Giving (and How You Should NOT Use Them)

Numbers For nonprofit managers, numbers are important. Numbers define success or failure. Numbers keep the lights on or off. Numbers can show impact. But numbers,… Read More


5 Strategies for Turning Smaller Major Gifts into Larger Ones

What’s the only thing better in fundraising than a major gift? A bigger major gift. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you… Read More


Five ways Dr. Russell James recommends you reduce the cost of giving so your supporters feel good and give more

First: when we talk about cost, we’re not talking about fundraising expenses. That’s not what this article is about. Rather, it’s about the fact that… Read More


Why wealthy people care about cost even when it comes to philanthropy

I’ve said it before. Fundraising is all about making sure your supporters feel good. Of course, that’s easier said than done—especially when you consider how… Read More


Donor Complaints: Why it’s a bad idea to get upset with donors when they complain

No one likes to hear complaints.  But when you work for a nonprofit or a private sector business, you need to welcome complaints. Here’s why:… Read More


Why people WON’T give you money

Today, instead of talking about what makes people give, let’s take a look at what thwarts giving. You can find examples of communications that depress… Read More


Buckle up, fundraisers—hyperinflation and other factors are likely to change everything very soon

I sincerely hope I’m wrong. After all, I’m no economist. But it’s becoming more and more difficult for me to ignore the storm clouds gathering… Read More


6 reasons why some donors prefer to stay anonymous

In case you’ve ever wondered why some donors prefer to stay anonymous, here are 6 proven reasons why: They do not want fundraisers from other… Read More


The 6 most read parts of any major gift letter

I’m always a bit baffled when I see fundraising letters that fail to take into consideration the following. After all, research by Professor Siegfried Vogele has clearly proven… Read More


10 Ways to Deliver Value to Your Major Donors and Planned Giving Prospects

Find ways to release dopamine and/or oxytocin in your supporters’ brains. Oxytocin creates intimacy, trust, and builds healthy relationships. It is essential for creating strong… Read More


16 Simple Things Your Best Donors Want

Here’s my list of essential major donor needs that you must aim to fulfill: Your best donors want you to do the important work they… Read More


The 8 core components of engagement fundraising and why you desperately need them

Most fundraising is based on what I call “single shot” strategies. For instance, it’s an event, gala or golf outing. Or, perhaps it’s a mailing,… Read More


Why you should worry less about reducing overhead and more about delivering value

Fundraisers and donors are in a pickle. They have been unfairly subjected to a broken system for decades. It isn’t their fault, but it is… Read More


A powerful new way to deliver value to your future supporters

If you work for a college or university, you already know that many of your donors give because of the experience they had when they attended your institution. For… Read More


Why your nonprofit’s donor survey could be causing more harm than good

Thinking about sending out a donor survey? If so, be sure to use the survey responses properly so you ‘speak’ personally and relevantly to each… Read More


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