Smartideas

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

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


Top 3 reasons why major gift or legacy gift officers don’t have enough meetings with donors

I hear a lot of people complaining about gift officers not meeting with enough donors. Usually, these complaints come from people who don’t really do… Read More


At last, the one big thing every fundraiser needs to know to be successful

After more than a quarter century as a fundraiser and a professor focused on fundraising research, theories, data, and experiments, Dr. Russell James has determined… Read More


Top 10 Reasons Why Major Gifts Fundraisers Fire Their Employers

As a Major Gifts Fundraiser don’t you want to fire your employer at times? Here are my top 10 reasons why many do just that…. 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


You Can’t Marry Your Donors After the First Date

Donors build relationships with nonprofits the same way they build relationships with people. Slowly! Step 1: Meet through friends Step 2: Chat a bit Step… 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


The 6 most read parts of any major gift letter

I’m always a bit baffled when I see fundraising letters that fail to take into consideration the following. After all, research by Professor Siegfried Vogele has clearly proven… 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


What to do when a supporter notifies you that they left your organization in their estate plan but won’t take your calls

I know, it’s frustrating. You want to thank them but they won’t respond to your outreach. First things first. There are a bunch of reasons why… 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


Are you ready for the 24/7 donor?

Accenture – the world’s largest consulting firm – says that we’re in the era of the “nonstop consumer”. According to their website, “A customer’s path… 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


Engagement Fundraising in 7 simple bullet-points

Focus- Focus your marketing (especially your expensive marketing like face-to-face meetings) on people who have a lot of money Generate leads- Generate highly-qualified leads among… 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


Why most of your marketing should appeal to donors in the WHY stage of the consideration continuum

Instinct. When I first started helping nonprofits raise major gifts for less, I instinctively knew that the traditional planned giving web content most vendors supplied… Read More


Why your donor prospects lie to you and won’t accept your outreach

If you’re like me, you hate being sold. You can sense when a salesperson is trying to get you to do something you’re not quite… Read More


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