Major Giving

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

What major philanthropists really want from fundraisers

Ronald J. Schiller (a veteran fundraiser with too many accolades to list here) wrote a fantastic book titled Belief and Confidence. In it, he draws… Read More

Why the difference between “we” and “they” is so tremendous?

First, a really quick story. I was flying home from a speaking engagement last week when I found myself sitting next to a very sweet,… 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

What to do when several in-house departments are fighting over who should ask a big donor for the next gift

First, a quick story: I once heard a story about a University that was getting ready for a big campaign. Not surprisingly, several fundraisers at… Read More

Serious major gift marketing is not for populists. Planned gift marketing is.

I like populism because it gives regular people control over their government.  But populism has no place in major gift marketing. To generate more major gifts,… Read More

The simplest way to acquire a new major donor— FAST

Everyone wants new major donors. Most nonprofits spend a lot of time and money noodling their data to find them. Yet there’s a simple way… Read More

6 themes you need to recognize about your major donors in the digital era

1. Major and planned gift donors want to engage on multiple channels. Tweet this! They want to involve themselves with and support your mission on more… Read More

7 key questions for qualifying your major gift and planned gift prospects

The funny thing about fundraising is that just about every nonprofit has plenty of data, plenty of prospects, and some even have wealth screened data—… Read More

How many ways can you say "thank you" to a donor?

According to an article in the Journal of Economic Psychology, saying thank you can actually have a negative effect on your relationship with a supporter…. Read More

Fail more.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison – “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no… Read More

The best way to predict the future is to invent it

I was tired of waiting. When I was just a donor, I was frustrated with the letters, newsletters, and emails I received from my beloved… Read More

Why the first gift really shouldn't count

At MarketSmart, we get super-excited when a new organization signs up to work with us. And why not? It is, after all, a genuine thrill… Read More

Don’t ever ask someone to give until it hurts

Give until it hurts? Like so many other things I dislike about traditional fundraising axioms, this one has always rubbed me the wrong way. Remember,… Read More

How to prep for your next big ask

There’s a ton of information out there about how to ask for a donation. Here’s a 52-page report from AFP (link removed – report now… Read More

Are you being tested?

Mark Zuckerberg’s big $100 million gift in 2010 In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder and CEO) gave $100 million to help fix Newark, New Jersey’s… Read More

Why not create a donor appreciation department?

Does your organization really appreciate its supporters? Many private businesses have customer service departments because they want to increase the lifetime value of each customer…. Read More

2 marketing Jedi Masters tell us why fundraising IS marketing/selling

Fundraising IS marketing and selling Yet some fundraisers think it’s different from other forms of marketing and sales when it isn’t. Somehow the altruistic aspects of… Read More

Ever wonder what donor advisors tell their clients when it comes to giving their money away?

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has spent the past 120 years advising one of the worlds most philanthropic families— the Rockefellers. Today they help their clients give away… Read More

7 common major gift marketing mistakes you should avoid this year (including planned gift marketing)

Believing that you are imposing on your supporters by asking them for money. Remember, they want to give. The key is to think of yourself… Read More

Thank you for being part of our growing ecosystem

I created Engagement Fundraising and invented our software because I’m really a donor, not a fundraiser. In fact, I have never been a fundraiser according to Webster’s definition… Read More

Our 5 most popular blog posts (according to our subscribers)

Each year I like to review which blog posts were viewed most by my subscribers (and which were viewed least). Here are the top 5:… Read More

How to keep your donors in 2016

In the nonprofit world, it’s widely recognized that retaining donors can be quite challenging. If it wasn’t challenging… if it was easy, everyone would be doing it and doing… Read More

The number one reason why you aren’t getting your share of dollars from donor advised funds

According to Fidelity Charitable, most donor-advised fund account holders included or will include a bequest in their estate plans. You might not think that matters… Read More

Would you give money to this person?

Trust is crucial, necessary and vital.  I think all of us would agree that one of the most basic reasons why any major donor would… Read More

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