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Smartideas

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

Even a broken record can play beautiful music, here's mine…

I’m going to repeat what might now be cliché. You’ve heard this before. But you’ve got to let it sink in. Then act on it…. Read More


3 smart new metrics to measure your fundraising effectiveness

I’ll bet you make lots of calls. You set appointments, uncover needs, make presentations, write proposals and close gifts too, right? I did it too…. Read More


Now Available: Dr. Russell James’ Visual Planned Giving Textbook, Updated for the 2018 Tax Law

My friend, Dr. Russell James has just finished the newest edition to his groundbreaking textbook, Visual Planned Giving. This includes an in-depth analysis of the… Read More


Building awareness for planned giving is easier and less expensive than ever

Promoting planned giving doesn’t have to be expensive. If you have traffic on your website, you have a chance to promote planned giving for pennies… Read More


11 best practices for your legacy society communications

When it comes to legacy gifts, most fundraisers spend too much time focused on uncovering hidden gifts or closing more of them. Sure, it’s important to… Read More


7 simple steps to qualify your donors

Unsuccessful fundraisers don’t understand qualification. They don’t recognize its power. They wait for the next wealth screened list. They fiddle with it in Excel or… Read More


3 reasons why you need to stop worrying about the darn tax law!!!

Tons of writers in major media have been fretting about the new tax law. “Tax bill could turn philanthropy into a pursuit only for the… Read More


Top 7 Fundraising In’s and Out’s for 2018

1. OUT: Making donors feel bad, twisting their arms, telling them to give ’til it hurts and shaming them 1. IN: Making donors feel good, treating… Read More


3 simple steps to get more money from donor-advised funds (DAF's)

STEP 1- Find out who has a donor-advised fund (among your supporters, advocates, donors, members, alumni, subscribes, etc.) 80% of your problem will be solved… Read More


Why you need to focus on the most qualified donors

Focus. Because… the world is quickly becoming one that has fewer donors giving more. According to The Institute for Policy Studies (after they crunched the data… Read More


Donors give when THEY want to give, not when YOU want them to give

It ain’t about you. Unsuccessful fundraisers want donors to give on their timeline, not the donor’s. They think they can make the donor ‘move’ when they want them… Read More


Cold calling major donors to arrange appointments doesn’t work— but this method does

No one likes getting cold calls and you probably don’t like making them. That’s why, these days, you need to insert a crucial step in between your marketing/communications and your… Read More


Is the person who answers your phones your weakest, lowest paid employee?

Everyone is a fundraiser. Don’t believe me? First, a short story. My dad ran a very large insurance agency.  Over 100 people.  One of the… Read More


Do you care more about your legacy society than the donors in it?

Some nonprofits seem to care about ‘having’ a legacy society far more than they care about the donors in them.  There’s lots of evidence supporting my… Read More


Top 10 Ways You Can Benefit from Conducting a Donor Survey

1. Raise money – If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money ask for advice. Surveys raise money. 2. Identify – Decide who… Read More


Why mistakes are awesome and what to do about them

I know the feeling. A supporter calls to tell you your email or letter spelled her name wrong. She’s pissed! You begin to sweat and your muscles… Read More


Quality vs. Quantity: Which is better for selecting fundraising prospects?

I’ve always felt that nonprofits spend way too much time and money looking at historical donor data to try to predict future giving. I’m not alone…. Read More


The simplest and most effective 6-step major gift and planned gift marketing strategy ever

1. Employ donor surveys. 2. Provide valuable engagement offers using the information you learned from the surveys (that way your offers will elicit responses— since… Read More


Are you communicating with your supporters too frequently?

When it comes to volume of donor communications, it’s not a matter of how much or how little (especially when it comes to email). It’s… Read More


This week on the podcasts

If you didn’t know yesterday MarketSmart’s Engagement Fundraising podcast released a brand new episode all about how you as a fundraiser can create the Disney… Read More


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A challenge for the fundraisers of the world…

Fundraisers have more competitors now than ever before. Your competition is global. They are everywhere because the Internet has made it easy to become a competitor…. Read More


Donor Psychology: Do you know what really makes your supporters feel good?

Funny thing about fundraising is that it all boils down to this: Making sure that your supporters feel good! I know, I know. In the… 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


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