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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Today I think I’ll take a victory lap. Will you join me?

I get things wrong all the time. Back in 1993 when I quit my first ‘real’ job in the newspaper business I predicted printed newspapers… Read More


6 reasons why some donors prefer to stay anonymous

In case you’ve ever wondered why some donors prefer to stay anonymous, here are 6 proven reasons why: 1. They do not want fundraisers from… Read More


Follow This Example To See How Automated Cultivation Can Work To Meet Donor Needs.

If you were a fundraiser at my alma mater seeking a donation from me for a new building, a progressive campaign might look like this:… Read More


10 Ways to Use Body Language to Close More Major Gifts

Almost 50 years ago, Albert Mehrabian figured out that our words matter least and our body language matters most in face-to-face communications.   His landmark… Read More


16 Simple Things Your Best Donors Want

Here’s my list of essential major donor needs that you must aim to fulfill:   1. Your best donors want you to do the important work… Read More


The Definitive Menu of Engagement Fundraising Marketing Channels

We know that it’s not always easy to determine where you should be focusing your efforts (and your dollars). So we developed this nifty little… Read More


Are you ready for the 24/7 donor?

Accenture – the world’s largest consulting firm – says that we’re in the era of the “nonstop consumer”. According to their website, “A customer’s path… Read More


Why you should use nostalgia to promote more giving

I recently stumbled upon a neat paper titled Nostalgia: The Gift That Keeps Giving. Here’s a summary: Overview 1. Nostalgia is a very personal, social emotion that… Read More


How are you doing compared to your peers?

Claire Axelrad, J.D., CFRE (an expert on fundraising, social media, and nonprofits) pulled together these nuggets from my Fundraising Report Card app. For that, I owe her… Read More


Why Response Rates Don’t Matter.

It always frustrates me to hear fundraisers or their consultants concern themselves with vanity metrics like response rates for lead generation efforts.  Honestly, I’m tired… 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


Why MarketSmart's logo is a lightbulb.

After more than 2 years, it finally dawned on her. A wonderful fundraiser had been buying from us (MarketSmart) when finally, one day she exclaimed,… Read More


If you're asking yourself whether or not direct mail is dead, then you're asking the wrong question

There’s too much talk about whether or not direct mail is dead. Of course it is NOT dead! I get direct mail delivered to me every day.  … 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


8 Great Ways to End Emails or Letters

Cultivation starts and ends with great communication. Goodbyes are just as important as hellos. So here are some great ways to end emails you send… 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


It's about questions, not presentations

Have you ever found yourself spending hours or even days developing presentations for major donor visits? I think most of us have gotten caught up in… 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


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


What's your fundraising asking style?

According to Brian Saber, “Your ‘Asking Style’ is based on your personality and unique set of strengths in fundraising.” But, don’t be fooled by stereotypes…. Read More


Most fundraisers use email the wrong way

Every marketing channel needs to be optimized and employed properly. Sadly most fundraisers are using email the wrong way. Email should NOT be used primarily… Read More


Why go to Amazon when you can get it here for free?

Each year my amazing staff grab the best, most popular blog posts from the prior year to create a book for our readers.  At last, the… 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


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