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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Why fundraisers should take some lessons from stockbrokers

I stumbled on an article written for stockbrokers (financial advisors) that I found interesting because it recounted the top three reasons why clients leave: Poor… 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


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


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


The 4 levels of donor commitment according to Mal Warwick

For those of you who are new to the field, Mal Warwick played a tremendous leadership role in fundraising and direct marketing. In his book… Read More


Does an "empathy gap" exist among your donors?

A lot of charities tout the fact that they take care of their own. Marines helping marines! Cancer patients helping cancer patients! And so on…. Read More


7 Solid Reasons Why You Should Kill Your Printed Planned Giving Newsletter

I know, I know… you love your printed planned giving newsletter. After all, it’s an easy marketing option (especially if you buy them from a vendor who… Read More


Want more planned gifts? Focus on why not how

There are a whole bunch of so-called “marketing companies” out there that say they help nonprofits get more planned gifts. I have a lot of… 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


What to do about planned gift marketing when you don't know what to do…

New subscribers to my blog get a survey asking them what topics they’d like to see me cover.  You can send me requests too at… Read More


Show some donor appreciation!

Before I give you the secret and how it applies to your fundraising efforts, you should know that lots of people try to tell me how… Read More


Why nonprofit budgets should be developed in alignment with strategies

One of our clients achieved extraordinary results last year. They generated more leads for planned gifts and uncovered more previously undisclosed legacy gifts than ever… 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


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


Proof that planned gifts increase annual giving revenue

We really need to thank our lucky stars for Dr. Russell James!   He painstakingly reviewed 20+ years worth of data from a federally funded,… Read More


4 essential questions to ask yourself about your planned or major gift direct mail program

1. Are you really doing direct mail well? I like to say, “Be donor-centric. Be personalized. Be relevant. Or be gone!” If you’re sending tons… Read More


How to determine whether or not you should fire your planned gift marketing vendor

If you’re concerned that you might be getting marketing advice from a firm that’s behind the times, ask yourself the following questions:  Do they use the… Read More


What to do instead of the crusty old estate planning seminars you run hoping to generate planned gifts

I’m not sure the old-fashioned estate planning seminars really work to generate legacy gifts. Here’s why: They’re expensive (since time is the same as money)…. Read More


The easiest way to grow your Legacy Society (5 super-simple steps)

Everyone wants planned gifts. But so few invest the time and money necessary to inspire them. Events, annual fund mailings, operation meetings, and tons of other… Read More


Most planned gift prospects don’t ever want to meet you

That’s right. Most planned gift prospects actually don’t ever want to meet you. They’ll even go so far as to tell you that they will… Read More


The best way to predict the future is to invent it

I was tired of waiting. When I was just a donor, I was frustrated with the letters, newsletters, and emails I received from my beloved… Read More


2 marketing Jedi Masters tell us why fundraising IS marketing/selling

Fundraising IS marketing and selling Yet some fundraisers think it’s different from other forms of marketing and sales when it isn’t. Somehow the altruistic aspects of… 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


My Gift To You This Holiday Season

A lot of people have asked me, “Can you really achieve planned gift marketing success online?”   They didn’t believe me when I first came… Read More


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