Smartideas

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

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Is your annual fund tail wagging your major gift dog?

I always find it stupefying when a major gifts team tells me they need to get permission from the direct marketing team or higher up to… Read More


Do you really need to buy a planned giving website?

In most cases, for most nonprofits… NO! You don’t need to buy a planned giving website. Here’s why:  For decades, nonprofit leaders and staff have… 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


Do we really need science to help us raise more money?

Thanks to scientific research, we now know conclusively that giving to others makes us feel good about ourselves, which in turn, makes us happy. But… Read More


If you don't read this right now, you'll miss out!

After reading that headline, did you feel a sense of urgency? Sorry to trick you but I wanted you to see what it felt like… Read More


Why you don't need to update your planned giving web pages as much as you might think

A longstanding misconception has been spread around for too long. Your planned giving web pages don’t need to be updated “with the latest tax laws.”… 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


3 big reasons why some fundraisers should not critique creative

Recently one of our beloved clients critiqued something we thought she should do by saying, “Well if I saw that envelope I’d throw it in the… Read More


3 ways to use direct mail effectively in the age of social media

Although direct mail requires printing and postage, we still include it in our marketing plans because it can be effective if you do it right…. Read More


How NOT to write a letter to your supporter community

Here’s the copy (below) from an old letter sent by my alma mater. In 2012 they achieved their goal and raised $1 billion but, in my… Read More


The top 10 reasons why your donor outreach fails

Here’s a list of top 10 reasons why your donor outreach fails: #10. It’s boring #9. It’s impersonal #8. It’s irrelevant #7. It lacks emotion… Read More


How to break the most vicious cycle that hamstrings your organization's growth

I recently stumbled upon a study that was jointly conducted by the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute and the Center on Philanthropy at… Read More


6 themes you need to recognize about your major donors in the digital era

1. Major and planned gift donors want to engage on multiple channels. Tweet this! They want to involve themselves with and support your mission on more… Read More


Are you being tested?

Mark Zuckerberg’s big $100 million gift in 2010 In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder and CEO) gave $100 million to help fix Newark, New Jersey’s… Read More


7 common major gift marketing mistakes you should avoid this year (including planned gift marketing)

Believing that you are imposing on your supporters by asking them for money. Remember, they want to give. The key is to think of yourself… Read More


Our 5 most popular blog posts (according to our subscribers)

Each year I like to review which blog posts were viewed most by my subscribers (and which were viewed least). Here are the top 5:… Read More


Keep Your Chin Up and Keep Trying!

Sometimes we fail. Everyone fails. In fact, there has never been a successful person who has not experienced failure. Of course, that includes me. I’ve… Read More


How to Reach Out to Your Major or Legacy Gift Prospects Using LinkedIn

You know major gift fundraising is a marathon, not a sprint. But your boss wants results now. So you screen your list for wealth. Or… Read More


The Best Way to Ensure That No One Reads Your Stuff

Recently I told my writer that most people won’t read her body copy. That hurt her feelings. She was upset and reacted harshly to my… Read More


Is Your Nonprofit Marketing Budget Properly Aligned With the 80/20 Rule?

In 1906 an Italian economist named Vilfred Pareto discovered that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the people. He further… Read More


7 questions you better be able to answer if you want to keep your doors open

Once again today I’m beating the drum about marketing.  Forget about the word “fundraiser” because, folks, you are marketers!  And every marketer has a product… Read More


Marketing is easy, right?

Thanks to LUMA for providing this awesome graphic that shows just how many tools you could use for marketing efforts these days.  These tools make marketing… Read More


8 ways to promote your planned giving program on Facebook

1. Announce a gift you recently received (a modest one… legacy gifts mostly come from average folks— not the rich) and say “thank you” 2…. Read More


Why selling planned gifts is different (the case for a multi-step cultivation effort)

Seth Godin is pretty smart.  He really understands marketing. In his recent blog post he discusses why we should sometimes avoid “easy leads” and, rather,… Read More


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