Helping you qualify, cultivate and prioritize major donors and legacy supporters so you can have fun closing more gifts more efficiently.

Engagement Fundraising Podcast: The reviews are in!

Podcasting is pretty new for me. I’ve never done it before. But I’m thrilled to see the reviews for the Engagement Fundraising Podcast have been positive. Hooray!!… Read More

The difference between wealth screening and wealth appending

First, wealth screening. Over the past 10 to 20 years, wealth screening has become a common practice for fundraising shops. But staff should always remember… Read More

11 reasons why donors and organizations love charitable gift annuities

Why donors like CGAs CGAs help them feel good because they get to make a gift to support a cause they believe in while also… Read More

How nonprofit organizations can provide more value to generate more revenue in 5 simple steps.

In my last post, I tore up the concept of the disappearing donor. I proclaimed that donors are not disappearing. Rather, our sector’s fundraising practices are driving… Read More

The myth of the disappearing donor

Lots of folks think donors are disappearing.  While populations in the U.S. and other philanthropic countries are still increasing how can it be that donors… Read More

Stop SPAMMING your supporters with planned giving e-newsletters

Wiz-bang tech? I was talking to a fundraiser and he said, “We’ve got this cool system that includes pre-written estate planning e-newsletters I can send to… Read More

Complacency is a prelude to disaster

I know, change is hard. But I think too many people are afraid of change and disruption when they really should be afraid of being afraid…. Read More

Are you a piñata fundraiser?

Piñatas are decorative, papier-mâché containers usually filled with candy. I learned about them at children’s birthday parties. There, the children get a chance to whack ’em with a stick… 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

Don’t survey your donors unless you have cultivation ready to go

Let’s start at the beginning. Almost 10 years ago, when MarketSmart was a marketing agency for private sector businesses and I first offered to help… Read More

What everyone is missing about the 2018 $410 billion giving figure from Giving USA

$410 billion. Hooray! Right? Not so fast! Lots of folks are not so happy. So today I’m going to tell you what they are missing that… Read More

Focus on your donors’ lives, not their wallets

I came across this very interesting article a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d share it since it led me to a terrific new… Read More

Focus on your donors' lives, not their wallets

I came across this very interesting article a couple of weeks ago and thought I’d share it since it led me to a terrific new… Read More

The Best of SmartIdeas 2017 Book Now Available! – Get it free from us, quantities limited!

Each year we round up the most popular blog posts from the prior year to create a book for our readers. I’m excited to share… Read More

What do you really think about DONOR SCORING?

Here are some types of donor scores I’ve seen: Wealth scores Capacity scores Legacy gift likelihood scores Major gift likelihood scores Annual gift likelihood scores… Read More

How you can email your supporters every single day

You can, indeed, email your supporters every single day.  I realize you and your communications team members probably just fell out of your chairs. After… Read More

3 reasons why I use curse words (but only one that matters)

She told me others would say I was unprofessional. I was asked to lead a roundtable discussion at a conference recently. So I did. And afterward… Read More

Why you should never get a job and go to work.

I taught my kids to avoid using the words job, work and can’t. To me a job is what some people get so they can work to get money; and if they fail to find one, they might say it’s… Read More

Top 2 cringeworthy things some fundraisers say to major donor prospects (and what they might want to say instead)

1. “I’d like to meet you to update you / tell you what we do / tell you what we’ve been doing, etc.” I’ve had… Read More

10 traits of terrible major and legacy gift fundraisers

Sadly, I’ve witnessed all of these but I truly believe #1 is the worst. Here are my top 10 traits of terrible fundraisers that drive major… Read More

The dumb donor’s guide to photo-ops with oversized checks

On Monday I wrote about the oversized check photo-op and posted a link to it on LinkedIn. The post is approaching 10,000 views in under 48 hours. Clearly… Read More

Is it time to banish photos of fundraisers and oversized checks?

I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but I have always felt uncomfortable seeing a bunch of fundraisers holding an oversized check. Perhaps, subconsciously… Read More

Is your nonprofit organization really that special?

No. Sorry. It isn’t. For example, if you search for environmental organizations on Wikipedia, you’ll find the following list: Why should anyone make a major gift… Read More

7 big reasons why capacity is so hard to uncover (how the rich hide their wealth)

Here’s how the ultra-rich make sure you can’t figure out how much money they really have: They figure out ways to evade taxes entirely They use… Read More

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