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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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The Worst Way to Start a Major Gifts Fundraising Call

“Is now a good time to talk?” This is one of the worst ways to start a call to schedule a visit (unless you know… 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


Restricted Giving: Why Your Organization Should Offer More Options

Restricted giving doesn’t sound like a good thing, just from the sound of it. The idea of restricting anything, especially giving, doesn’t seem like it… Read More


3 Things You Must Define to Receive a $5 Million Gift

A friend of mine recently asked for a $5 Million gift. THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY! But in terms of the money required to make… Read More


How blockbuster movies can help you make the perfect fundraising ask

Universal challenge Let’s go to the movies! And when we go, what will we see? If it’s a blockbuster, we’ll often see a similar underlying… Read More


How “Polite Persistence” Pays Off for Major Gifts Fundraisers

It took me 16 contacts over a 12-month period to get a visit scheduled with one couple. They then went on to give over $100,000…. 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 one… Read More


To Visit or Not to Visit: Choose Wisely

It doesn’t really matter if you go on a visit TODAY. It also doesn’t really matter if you DON’T go on a visit TODAY. But… Read More


How I leave voicemail messages that get returned

Generally here’s how I leave messages that get returned: APPRECIATION: I say ‘thank you’ (and I get sort of ’emotional and gracious’ in my tone……. Read More


How to be an authentic guiding sage for your donors

The guiding sage The hero’s journey is a universal story. In that universal story, the guiding sage plays a powerful archetypal role. This role can… Read More


How major gifts fundraisers should introduce themselves to donors

The universal hero story is attractive. This “monomyth” is “hard-wired into our psyches.”[1] In the donor’s hero story, the donor’s role as hero is compelling…. Read More


Why you need to know the difference between your donor’s implicit vs. explicit needs

Too often fundraisers make assumptions about what donors want. Usually, this is driven by top leaders or board members. They decide, for instance, that it… Read More


It’s NOT a dirty job but someone DOES have to do it.

Recently a friend of mine was promoted.  Now she is in a leader position at her organization’s headquarters.  Yippee! I asked her, “What will you… Read More


Are fundraising tricks and gimmicks worth doing?

An old book filled with timeless lessons. I was cleaning out a cabinet last weekend and I came across an old book I read long… 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


Do you have a job or do you have a mission?

“I was on a mission from God.” I met John the first year I started working in major gifts. John was a retired financial advisor… Read More


How to ask for a gift: Do you really have to ask?

When it comes to ‘how to ask for a gift,’ you’ll see there’s a parallel between how we conduct sales here at MarketSmart and how… 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


Top 10 Reasons to Enroll in the Donor Story: Epic Fundraising Ecourse with Dr. Russell James

Need help convincing the ‘powers that be’ to pony up the cash for the best and most valuable online fundraising eCourse on the planet? Even… 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


What’s wrong with fundraising job titles?

Your job title as a fundraiser is part of the first impression you make with a donor. Of course, you might be wondering, “Come on…… Read More


The 6 Core Elements of a Well-Told, Well-Executed Donor Fundraising Story

Before you think this is another post about how to tell great fundraising stories, read this: This article is not about the elements of how… Read More


How to Reduce the ‘Cost’ of Philanthropy So Major Donors Give More

Teen Talk Barbie famously stated, “Math is hard.”[1] This may be particularly true in fundraising. Giving is motivated by social emotion. Triggering math, logic, error-detection thoughts can hurt. It… Read More


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