Smartideas

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

MarketSmart characters
MarketSmart lightbulb icon
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


The Seven Principles of Advancement Leadership

I recently had the pleasure of orienting a new chief advancement officer who is coming to the position from another field. It provided me the… Read More


Too much major and legacy gift fundraising is focused on HOW, when it should be focused on WHY

What the heck am I talking about? Major gift fundraising communications (especially legacy gift marketing) tend to focus too much on showing supporters how they… 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


Tips for hiring major gift fundraisers

“Let’s hire Johnny… He knows everybody!” Here’s the problem: Johnny is an idiot. Let me explain. So many times, organizations want to hire major gift… 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


What Advancement Must Become: Builders of Communities of Shared Interest

You don’t have to poke too far into most nonprofits’ fundraising results to see significant donor erosion, usually masked by a few large gifts each… 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


Why fundraisers who position themselves as a counselor and guiding sage for donors raise more money

Things look bleak. Fundraisers don’t stay. They don’t stay at the nonprofit. They don’t stay in the industry. They are stigmatized by outsiders. They are… Read More


What happens when you change your mindset

“I don’t want to waste your time.” Here is another common objection you will hear when trying to schedule visits. The donor will tell 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


This is the #1 driver of fundraiser turnover

Good and bad stories Stories are powerful. They can provide meaning and motivation. They can be a source of personal identity. For fundraising, stories are… 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


The 8 Components of Engagement Fundraising

There are eight components of my innovative fundraising methodology: 1. Accepting the Pareto principle We’ve called it the 80/20 rule, but it’s more like the… Read More


Always Remember – What Matters Most Is the DONOR’s Hero Story, Not Yours

Philanthropy is powerful. It can do more for the donor than just consuming more stuff would do. It can provide personally meaningful impact. It can… Read More


Stop making assumptions about your donors

“Major donors like to give in their backyard.” I call BS! One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that many people think that major… Read More


The 4 Core Values of First-Generation Wealthy Donors You Need to Understand

Wealth is becoming more concentrated among fewer people. You probably know that already. But what you may not understand is that first-generation wealthy people are… Read More


Why you may need to reframe the donor’s hero story

Reframing the hero story The Hero is a high-ego character. It is at one extreme of the ego-social axis. For those at the opposite end,… Read More


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


Introducing the Most Effective Legacy Gift Fundraising Strategy You’ve Never Heard Before

Imagine the following two scenarios. Scenario 1: You have 100 donors who have capacity to give a five-figure legacy gift, and they have a fairly… 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


Get smarter with the SmartIdeas blog

Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!