Smartideas

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

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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


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


Don’t get fooled by metrics without context

No one cares how much money you’ve raised. Displaying how much money you’ve raised on your website, on your LinkedIn, on your resume, or anywhere… Read More


How to develop a ‘character’ in your fundraising stories in 3 steps — according to Dr. Russell James

At the heart of philanthropy is story. Story starts with character. Without a relatable character, the fundraising story is dead. To be relatable, the donor… Read More


4 big ideas Dr. Russell James got from scanning donor brains with neuroimaging equipment

Philanthropy originates in story. In the earliest foundations of human social cooperation, story is at the center.[1] In empathy development of preschool children, story is… 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


Why Listening and Investigating Matter So Much for Funding Your Mission

You might want to check out the first post in this series before reading this one. In that post, I told you that telling is… Read More


Why Stories Matter in Fundraising

In my previous article, I explained what fundraisers get wrong about storytelling. Mostly they tend to think stories about what their organization does can inspire… 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


Here’s What Supporters “Buy” When They Donate to Charity

I think buying and donating are the same.  Here’s why.  When I give money to a charity, I am buying: A chance to be moved by… Read More


“Sales and Major Gift Fundraising are NOTHING alike!”

I say BS. I’ve encountered several people who believe this, and I don’t understand why they teach it to new development professionals. Ultimately, I think… Read More


9 reasons why people put money in holding pens (such DAFs or foundations) instead of giving directly right away

1. Indecisive. They want and need to give and they might have organizations in mind, but they haven’t decided where to give yet. 2. Fearful…. 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


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