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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The 6 most read parts of any major gift letter

I’m always a bit baffled when I see fundraising letters that fail to take into consideration the following. After all, research by Professor Siegfried Vogele has clearly proven… Read More


Donor Complaints: Why it's a bad idea to get upset with donors when they complain

No one likes to hear complaints.  But when you work for a nonprofit or a private sector business, you need to welcome complaints. Here’s why:… 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


35 amazing ways to engage and involve your donors and supporters

If you’re stuck wondering how to involve your supporters with your mission, look no further. Here are 35 ideas from a stream of my consciousness…. Read More


4 things you need to know to qualify your major gift and planned gift prospects

What follows are the 4 things you need to know in order to close more gifts faster: 1. Who has the capacity to give 2…. 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


Here's why you should remove the word "bequest" from your vocabulary

The word bequest sucks when it comes to generating planned gift revenue. Stop using it. Here’s why: No one uses this word with their family… Read More


RIDDLE: How do you measure the success (or failure) of your planned giving program?

Today I’m very proud to provide a guest post written by one of MarketSmart’s brilliant, yet curious, Account Managers—Lizzie Weiland. She’s got an interesting riddle to… Read More


HELP! Please….

I really need your help. I funded a study to help you. Basically, we’re trying to help you and your peers understand more about major gift… Read More


Your donors want to find meaning in their lives. But are you helping them?

Sick of my rants yet? I’ve droned on and on about the fact that your job is to make your donors feel good and to… Read More


Opportunities vs. Problems: Which will your donors support?

I’ll cut to the chase. People want to take advantage of opportunities more than they want to solve problems. Here’s how it works in fundraising. “Problem” messages:… Read More


3 things every fundraiser needs to consider before they talk politics in front of their donors

I don’t have any data on this whatsoever but something tells me that a good number of fundraisers might lean left when it comes to… Read More


What planned and major gifts officers can learn from Shark Tank

I love Shark Tank, the reality TV show that features a panel of potential venture capitalists (“sharks”) evaluating aspiring entrepreneurs product/business ideas. I watch it… Read More


Facebook restart?

I haven’t been much of a fan of Facebook for my business. I simply prefer LinkedIn. But recently it occurred to me that some fundraisers really like… Read More


Proof that donors want to help you get past the finish line

I’m constantly reminding people that fundraising is about facilitating and helping donors feel good! To do both, you might want to consider employing the concept of… Read More


3 real world examples of the Pareto Principle

If you know me and this blog, you know that I talk about the Pareto Principle a lot. That’s the concept developed by Vilfredo Pareto… Read More


What a terrific advertisement!

I really can’t say it any better than this ad thanks to LegacyVoice, a legacy administration and marketing firm based in the UK. Folks, it’s… Read More


Why fundraiser job titles suck and cost you a lot of money!

My pal Dr. Russell James is at it again. This time, he researched what fundraiser job titles inspire more engagement, connectivity, and giving. According to James,… Read More


How to use verbatims and digital body language to raise more money

Recently I was interviewed by Mazarine at Wild Woman Fundraising! You can hear the interview here. There’s one big point from the interview I figured you’d want… Read More


Finally, you can learn what words work to raise money!

Last year I worked with Dr. Russell James to present his findings on what words work to raise money (Check out the ground-breaking webinar titled… Read More


Dr. Russell James' Greatest Hits: Free fundraising webinars and eBooks

Want more interesting research from Dr. James? Here you go: News from the Ivory Tower: Webinar   Words that Work: Webinar Words that Work: eBook… Read More


What major philanthropists really want from fundraisers

Ronald J. Schiller (a veteran fundraiser with too many accolades to list here) wrote a fantastic book titled Belief and Confidence. In it, he draws… Read More


7 key questions for qualifying your major gift and planned gift prospects

The funny thing about fundraising is that just about every nonprofit has plenty of data, plenty of prospects, and some even have wealth screened data—… Read More


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