Smartideas

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

6 Reasons Pausing the Solicitation Process Can Increase the Amount of a Major Gift

Patience is powerful. When pursuing major gifts, it’s tempting to want to go fast, and to accept the first gift a donor offers. You don’t… Read More


Why you should never pay fundraisers a commission

Pay fundraisers well, but NEVER pay a commission. I became the highest-paid employee besides the CEO at my organization when I worked in major gifts…. Read More


What So Many Fundraising Appeals Miss: People Want to Help People

While fewer numbers of people are giving to institutions, they continue to give in ways they find more interpersonal. They include: Grandparents helping put their… Read More


How to Get Your Team Excited about Cold Calling Supporters

Cold calling, for many fundraisers who dislike it, sits right up there with public speaking, which some surveys have found people fear more than dying…. Read More


The Importance of Asking Permission to Ask More Questions

The missing piece in the story A novel can have a perfect story. But it will still fail without one thing. The reader must turn… Read More


The $25,000 Reason Why Follow-Up is So Important

183 days. That’s how long it took Bob to mail in a check for $25,000 after I asked him for the gift on a first… Read More


A Prospect We Must Entertain: Recession

The word “advancement” connotes forward movement. That requires forward thinking.  Responsible leadership at both the organizational and advancement level requires bifocal vision – seeing and seizing… Read More


Why you should pay your major gifts fundraisers more

One of the great insights Robert Kiyosaki shares in the book Rich Dad Poor Dad is this: Poor people say “we could never afford that”… Read More


The Three Characteristics That Distinguish the Best Advancement Practitioners

What are the three characteristics that distinguish the best advancement practitioners? Integrity, Curiosity, and Discipline. Of the three, integrity is the most important. It entails… Read More


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


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