Here are my IN’s & OUT’s for 2019… what do you think about them?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.


Being disrespectful, interrupting & annoying supporters

Spray-n’-pray marketing

Show up n’ throw up presentations

Treating donors like ATM machines

Asking for money (begging)

Counting numbers of new Legacy Society members

Shaming donors into giving at events that cost a lot

Acquiring thousands of new, low-dollar donors

Finding innovative ways to get ‘em to give more

Pre-qualifying major donors mostly because they’re rich

Making supporters feel bad



Being fair, building trust & involving supporters

Personalized, relevant & respectful communications

Collaborative conversations leading to proposals

Treating donors like people searching for meaning

Facilitating an exchange of value (fundraising)

Counting realized dollars from legacy gifts

Involving and informing donors at low cost events

Acquiring dozens of new, high-dollar donors

Finding innovative ways to help ‘em realize their dreams

Allowing major donors to qualify themselves (opt-in)

Making supporters feel good


If you like ’em, please share this file online:

MarketSmart's 2019 In's & Out's


Related Posts:

>>Donor Psychology: do you know what really makes your supporters feel good?
>>5 thoughts that might lead your supporters to feel donor remorse


5 responses to “Here are my IN’s & OUT’s for 2019… what do you think about them?”

  1. Christopher J Doyle says:

    I agree with everything on the lists except one: You say a don’t is: Acquiring thousands of new, low-dollar donors. People say it, agencies are selling it. But it just does not work. Not one list broker has that magic list. And if you do projections going forward, the numbers will lead you steadily downward not upward. The real challenge for non-profits is the second year from new retention rate. For most, that is stuck at about 30-35%. Without a huge bump in that retention rate, going after more “high-value” new donors results in a shrinking donor file. It is the age old question: Do I want one donor who gives me a million or do I want 10,000 donors who each give me $100? I will take the latter every day of the week. If I lose my million dollar donor, I am up the creek without the proverbial paddle. If I loose 100 of the other group, I still have 9,900 to work with. On paper and in theory it sounds good, but in practical reality it is a recipe for disaster. Out of the quantity comes the quality.

    • Greg Warner says:

      These are excellent points Christopher. Thanks for sharing them.

      I guess I should have elaborated.

      What I’m really against is acquiring thousands of new donors by pounding tens of thousands (or more) over and over and with no plan for delivering value to them in a way that encourages retention or migration to mid-level or major giving.

  2. I am a new Leadership Gift Officer. Would you please elaborate on your point about allowing major donors to qualify themselves/opt-in? Thank you!

    • Greg Warner says:

      Hi Kathryn. This is a big topic that requires a lot of space. It was discussed thoroughly in my book and I’d be happy to send you a complementary copy if you’d like. Let me know. But to keep it short and sweet… basically I believe donors should be ‘invited’ to have a deeper relationship with you and your institution. If they opt-in then they should be put on your case load. So in that respect, they should be allowed to self-qualify.

      But when you are just beginning to build a caseload or to refresh one, you should consider a donor survey or some other value-oriented engagement experience that includes asking qualifying questions so the donor (again) can decide whether or not they want to lean in to have a deeper relationship with you and your institution.

      Bottom line: For some reason long ago the sector decided that donors should be targets. I disagree! I think they should be friends we invite to engage. Then, if they lean in and opt-in, they should be given the chance to self-qualify by letting us know their intentions, where they reside in the consideration process for giving, why they care, how they’d like to give, etc.

      Of course, this is what the system/technology I developed does. You can see a video about it on our main web page:

  3. Thank you, Greg. And my apologies for the delay in my reply! (I hadn’t checked the box to be notified when there was a new post or reply.)

    You sent me the book (through a different opportunity) and I need to read it.

    Do you have any advice about time management? I’m struggling with finding a good balance between planning and doing. Also, there are so many people posting and publishing with advice — I could spend all my time reading and “learning” but not *doing* the work.

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