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

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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


Don’t survey your donors unless you have cultivation ready to go

Let’s start at the beginning. Almost 10 years ago, when MarketSmart was a marketing agency for private sector businesses and I first offered to help… Read More


Are you chasing wealthy people or philanthropists?

Wealthy people are not necessarily philanthropists. But philanthropists are usually wealthy. When organizations develop their lists, I think, perhaps, a little too much attention is… Read More


Does fundraising training focus too much on the ask?

Often, I find that major gift (and legacy gift) fundraising education, training, and advice places too much emphasis on ‘the ask’. Yet, in many ways,… 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


9 ways to be a more human fundraiser

As your supporters get bombarded with more and more messages from advertisers and competitors (other fundraisers) you’ll need to stand out. The best way to… Read More


7 reasons why wealth screening your donor list might be an incredibly foolish activity

Before you send me angry responses to this headline, know these two things first: What I’ve written is NOT coming just from me. I gathered… Read More


3 smart new metrics to measure your fundraising effectiveness

I’ll bet you make lots of calls. You set appointments, uncover needs, make presentations, write proposals and close gifts too, right? I did it too…. Read More


Your main website sucks at raising major gifts – and here’s why

Most nonprofits have very narcissistic websites that promote how great they are and how well suited they are to accomplish their mission. Sure, it’s true… Read More


Cold calling major donors to arrange appointments doesn’t work – but this method does

No one likes getting cold calls and you probably don’t like making them. That’s why, these days, you need to insert a crucial step in between your marketing/communications and… Read More


Do you care more about your legacy society than the donors in it?

Some nonprofits seem to care about ‘having’ a legacy society far more than they care about the donors in them.  There’s lots of evidence supporting my… Read More


Top 10 Ways You Can Benefit from Conducting a Donor Survey

First it’s important to recognize that there are two reasons to conduct a donor survey: To conduct research To raise money Generally you must pick… Read More


Quality vs. Quantity: Which is better for selecting fundraising prospects?

I’ve always felt that nonprofits spend way too much time and money looking at historical donor data to try to predict future giving. I’m not alone…. 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


Why you should stop looking for fundraising silver bullets and unicorns.

Many marketers/fundraisers desperately hope to find silver bullets or unicorns. They become enamored by shiny objects that are easy to employ. Usually, these technologies and tactics… Read More


You’ve got leads (identified major donor prospects) but are they ‘outreach-ready’?

People and vendors in our sector talk a lot about identifying donors, but getting them ready to meet with you is a different story. The problem… Read More


Should you target market financial advisors in order to get more legacy gifts?

It depends. I find myself saying, “It depends” quite a lot these days. But, seriously, the decision to target market to financial advisors depends on… Read More


Donor retention and donor qualification go together like peas in a pod

Some things just work best when coupled together. Peanut butter and jelly. Toothpaste and a toothbrush. Cookies and milk. Soap and water. Simon and Garfunkel. Get… Read More


7 steps to decline donations you can’t accept

She was really ticked off because they wouldn’t accept her gift. One of my customers got the following response to a survey request: “Why on… 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


Why QUALIFYING donors might be the silver bullet you’ve been looking for

First, there’s a lot of talk about donor retention these days.  Don’t get me wrong. I believe it’s critically important to retain donors with awesome… Read More


35 amazing ways to engage and involve your donors and supporters

If you’re stuck wondering how to involve your supporters with your mission, look no further. Here are 35 ideas from a stream of my consciousness…. Read More


Why you should use nostalgia to promote more giving

I recently stumbled upon a neat paper titled Nostalgia: The Gift That Keeps Giving. Here’s a summary: Overview 1. Nostalgia is a very personal, social emotion that… Read More


Why fundraisers should take some lessons from stockbrokers

I stumbled on an article written for stockbrokers (financial advisors) that I found interesting because it recounted the top three reasons why clients leave: Poor… Read More


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