Smartideas

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

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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 the Most Successful Fundraisers Use Stories to Inspire and Motivate Donors to Give

This is the fifth and final post that summarizes a series that tackles why storytelling doesn’t work on its own to generate big donations. To… Read More


Finally, the story behind Dr. Russell James’ research on fundraising stories

My journey My career has always focused on charitable giving. This was true in my practice experience, my research, and my teaching. But I’ll admit… Read More


4 Reasons Why Fundraisers Think Storytelling Matters

In case you missed my last post… I wrote about my unease with the storytelling surge in our sector. It made me uncomfortable because I… Read More


What Everyone Gets Wrong About Storytelling in Fundraising

First, the surge in storytelling. Five or ten years ago, it seemed like everyone in fundraising suddenly started talking about storytelling. Books were written, conferences… 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


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


Do you really need to buy a planned giving website?

In most cases, for most nonprofits… NO! You don’t need to buy a planned giving website. Here’s why:  For decades, nonprofit leaders and staff have… Read More


Charity vs. Philanthropy and Charitable People vs. Philanthropists

Charity – Helping people in need Philanthropy – Making an investment that stimulates other investments or provides opportunity for others Charitable people – Help others in… Read More


It’s about questions, not presentations

Have you ever found yourself spending hours or even days developing presentations for major donor visits? I think most of us have gotten caught up in… Read More


11 best practices for your legacy society communications

When it comes to legacy gifts, most fundraisers spend too much time focused on uncovering hidden gifts or closing more of them. Sure, it’s important to… Read More


The simplest and most effective 5-step major gift and planned gift marketing strategy ever

Employ donor surveys. Provide valuable engagement offers using the information you learned from the surveys (that way your offers will elicit responses— since you now… Read More


Where are you spending your marketing dollars?

If your organization has 10,000 active donors, it’s very likely they’ll be categorized as follows: A small number will generate 80-90 percent of the revenue…. Read More


Does Ask, Ask, and Ask Again Really Work?

Doing the same thing wrong over and over doesn’t improve results. I noticed a comment on a LinkedIn post recently that said, “Ask, ask, and… Read More


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