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9 hard truths your fundraising operation needs to face in the post-pandemic era.

iMarketSmart

Competition is fierce and everywhere. Nonprofits don’t only compete with other nonprofits. They also compete with private sector businesses and Uncle Sam (the tax collector) for every donor’s “share of wallet and attention.” Plus, donors want non-exclusive, polyamorous relationships with organizations. In other words, they will decide when they’ll cozy up to other charities. Of course, you can influence their decisions, but you can never control them. You are at a disadvantage.

Here’s what I learned about leadership in 2019. I hope it helps you!

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Leadership is NOT about ‘managing’ people, bossing them around, or being a tyrant and it ISN’T about showing people how great YOU are either. Instead, it’s about helping coachable people that have passion and character become great.

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7 big ideas for raising ‘major gifts of assets’ right now from Dr. Russell James

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A couple of weeks ago, my longtime friend Dr. Russell James presented his top recommendations for fundraisers to consider especially during the coronavirus era. If you missed the event, don’t worry. You can view the recorded webinar and download the slides here.

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7 Major Gift Fundraising Benchmarks You Really Need To Know

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Before we begin. The 2020 Major Gift Benchmark Study asked people working in nonprofit organizations (n=580) what they consider to be a major gift, how they are staffed to raise major gifts, the types of information used to identify major gift prospects, and more. Study respondents were also asked if their organization met their annual major gift fundraising goal.

The Way Forward: Part 1 of 3 for Marketing Major and Legacy Gifts in the Coronavirus Era

iMarketSmart

Don’t Panic. It’s the first rule of crisis management. When we panic we make bad decisions. Many of us have been facing closures, lockdowns and other extreme measures around the pandemic for almost a month, and every organization is thinking about how they can cut nonessential costs. A lot of nonprofits are letting panic cloud their long-term thinking. Let me say this loud and clear so everyone at the back of the room can hear me: Your fundraising team is NOT a nonessential cost.

Donor-advised Funds Are Misunderstood, Bound to Be Regulated, and Not Going Anywhere

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“Have you read this one?”. “Zach, hold on I didn’t even finish the other articles you sent me yet.” ” I guess I was being a bit overwhelming. Okay, yeah, I’m sorry. It’s just there is SO much out there on DAFs right now. It’s hard to keep up.”.

A pep talk for fundraisers like you!

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We are going to get through this, and history proves it. For many of us, this is not the first economic downturn we have seen in our careers.When we look at the Great Recession of 2008, giving declined only slightly. The Giving Institute Foundation (Giving USA) found that total giving dropped by 7.0% in 2008 and by another 6.2% in 2009. However, as a percentage of GDP, giving fell minimally, dropping from 2.1% in 2008 to 2.0% in 2009, 2010, and 2011. .

Two Examples of How to Cultivate Your Donors (Even When They Aren’t Your Donors)

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There’s a theme to major and legacy gift fundraising. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to uncover it. It’s the importance of relationship building. At the root of every major or legacy gift made there’s an intimate and undoubtedly deep connection between a donor and the organization.

Major and Legacy Gift Fundraising Is Changing… Blame Robocalls.

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Relationships building is part art, part science. And, as we all know, raising major and legacy gifts is all about building meaningful relationships. Over the past few years, the strategies and tactics nonprofits employ to raise major and legacy gifts has evolved and changed, and with good reason.

3 simple steps to break your transactional, spray-and-pray fundraising addiction

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Nonprofits tend to get addicted to transactions. Of course addictions are hard to break. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be broken at all.

How to Project Your Planned Gift Potential

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“I owe a great deal of thanks to the person who invested in planned giving 15 years ago.”. I was sitting in the crowd at the 2019 ANA Chicago Nonprofit Conference, listening to the presentation titled “Retaining Your Sustaining Donors” when my ears perked up.

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Top 10 Free Resources Thanks To Dr. Russell James

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Nearly ten years ago I made a new friend. It started out with an error. I wrote a blog post about the link between childlessness and planned giving. But I screwed up my math. Dr. James reached out to ‘help’ me catch the error and we struck up a dialogue via my blog. At that time I was just beginning to pivot my business. We were a marketing agency helping private sector CEOs generate, qualify and prioritize leads for relational sales.

Top 10 Reasons Why Fundraisers Might Be Uncomfortable ‘Making The Ask’

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Let me know what you think about my top 10 reasons why some fundraisers might be uncomfortable making the ask : 10. They are in the wrong job and should be doing something else; 9. They are poorly trained (or not trained at all) and, therefore, don’t know how and when to do it; 8. They don’t truly believe in their employer’s mission ; 7.

Engagement Fundraising in Action with Erin Troia (EF-S03-E03)

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Greg interviews Erin Troia about her “Engagement Fundraising” experiences. Erin recently finished reading an advanced copy of Engagement Fundraising and tried out some of the concepts she read about in the book. Learn more about MarketSmart at [link].

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MarketSmart’s “How-to” Guide for Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs)

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Click here for the free comprehensive guide for donor-advised funds. Trends come and go, but donor-advised funds are forever. I’m not quite sure that’s the quote, but I think it goes something like that.

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3 Simple Fundraising Metrics for Nonprofits (and How to Calculate Them)

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Google search “fundraising metrics” and you’ll find plenty of blog posts and articles. In fact, you’ll come across too many. It can be overwhelming to figure out what fundraising metrics your nonprofit should track and measure. No two websites seem to offer the same suggestions, making it difficult to know what’s really worthwhile. Fortunately, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) has come to the rescue (sort of).

16 Simple Things Your Best Donors Want

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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 they can’t or won’t do. Your best donors want you to give them the credit and praise for your achievements. They want to be the hero in the story, not you.

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THE WAY FORWARD: PART 3 OF 3 FOR MARKETING MAJOR AND LEGACY GIFTS IN THE CORONAVIRUS ERA

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This is part 3 of 3 in a series. For the first post, go here and for the second post, go here. Engage and offer, don’t ask. We’ve been hearing from a lot of organizations over the past few weeks, and many are putting a total hold on communications to their donors. I would encourage you to do the exact opposite. . Donors are getting bombarded with information and opinions from the media, the government, their friends, their family, social media — you name it!

GUEST POST: A Great Idea… Connecting With Donors Through Photo Books

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This is a first! I’ve never had anyone write a guest post for my blog. But when I saw what Daphne Powell was doing to grow relationships with her donors, I reached out to her to see if she might consider telling you her story. So, here goes… Introducing Daphne Powell and her magical use of photo books for donor stewardship. Hoooooorayyyyy Daphne! Connecting with donors through photo books. By Daphne Powell.

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THE WAY FORWARD: PART 2 OF 3 FOR MARKETING MAJOR AND LEGACY GIFTS IN THE CORONAVIRUS ERA

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This is part 2 of 3 in a series. For the previous post, go he re. Kill self-doubt. Some in your organization might be saying things like: “Our major donors’ investment portfolios have been decimated. There’s no way they’ll give.” I want to help you quash this negative train of thought right now. First, while that might be true for some of them, you’ll want to remember that many wealthy people didn’t get there by being stupid.

Imagine: One extra call each day.

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I simply love inspirational quotes. Here’s one I recently came across from Thomas Edison. He once said, “The successful person has a habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do.” ” That led me to think about calling donors.

Product Updates: Stewardship Series Effort and Online Will Tool Add-on

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Stewardship Series Effort. When it comes to legacy gifts, many organizations spend too much time focused on uncovering hidden gifts or closing more of them. Sure, it’s important to find out who planned a secret gift and to inspire donors to make planned gift disclosures. But, believe it or not, closing legacy gifts is just the beginning of the fundraising process, not the end. That’s because most legacy gifts are revocable and many people change their plans near the end of their lives.

Musical chairs, your donors, and fundraising?

iMarketSmart

I think fundraisers should recognize that donors are playing a lifelong game of musical chairs. The people you consider to be YOUR donors are circling around many other charities and, from time to time, they ‘sit’ with one that engages them properly and makes them feel good. Then, when the music starts playing again, they go around and around until they find another charity and take a seat there for a while.

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MarketSmart + The Giving Institute

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In case you couldn’t tell from the title of today’s blog post, we have some exciting news to share with you! MarketSmart is the newest member of The Giving Institute. Founded in 1935, The Giving Institute has served as one of the most influential and important organizations advancing leadership and ethics in philanthropy and fundraising in our sector.

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A bunch of reasons why January is NOT necessarily the best time to ‘hit your donor’s mailbox’

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Recently I saw a question posted on a discussion board that was inspired by a blog (NOT mine) titled: WHY YOU NEED TO HIT YOUR DONOR’S MAILBOX FIRST THING IN 2019. The question was: Planned/legacy giving marketing – when do you mail? Here’s the response I posted.

Engagement Calling Metrics for Lead Outreach Associates Tasked With Arranging Meetings With Major Donor & Legacy Donor Prospects

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Engagement calling, not cold calling! About 1 1/2 years ago I introduced the concept of Engagement Calling as the best way to land appointments with highly qualified, major gift donor prospects (much better than cold calling). But back then I failed to provide metrics for managing the process. So, today, I’ll lay them out for you. But before we dive into that, it’s important to remember that most supporters will not be ready to make a gift right away.

It’s too bad that nonprofit leaders and board members thwart risk-taking

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I think too many in the nonprofit sector fear failure. Unfortunately, that paralyzes people. It prevents them from making decisions and thwarts innovation. In most cases it isn’t the fundraisers fault. They want to take risks. But, unfortunately the leaders, the board or the media make fundraisers feel like they can’t. They always seem to be lurking, waiting for failure so they can jump in shouting, “How dare you waste money!” and that thwarts risk-taking which leads to innovation.

A perfect example of ‘spray and pray fundraising’

iMarketSmart

This email wasted my time and annoyed me because… I don’t know this person. I don’t know this organization. I didn’t give her or them permission to email me. I have no connection whatsoever to this cause or this organization.

Why treating philanthropists like s#!t is hurting our society.

iMarketSmart

From bad to worse. When I first saw the pictures of the flames engulfing Notre-Dame, I thought to myself, “That’s terrible.” ” But now, that the fire has been extinguished, I’m feeling like something else is even worse. In the aftermath of the destruction, people from all walks of life have been making comments about the philanthropists stepping forward to repair and restore the 856-year-old cathedral in Paris. Many of those comments have been negative.

A Glossary of Key Fundraising Terms, Jargon, and Vocabulary You Need to Know

iMarketSmart

Every profession has its fair share of jargon. Fundraising, and nonprofits in general, are no exception. Fundraising terms, acronyms, and jargon are as varied and valid as any other industry. As professionals in this field, we certainly have a wide-ranging glossary of phrases at our disposal. Five years ago I began my career in nonprofit fundraising. As you know, there’s a lot to learn when you get started (we’ve all been there).

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Why your capital campaign feasibility study could be leaving a lot of money on the table.

iMarketSmart

I think most campaign feasibility studies leave a ton of money on the table. Here’s a hyper-simplified description of how it usually works. You hire a consultant. Together, you conduct the feasibility study and review the results. Then, you make a decision on whether or not to go forward with the campaign. So what then? What about the supporters who helped you come to that conclusion? Prior to conducting the study, did you prepare a plan to give to them after they helped you?

5 Online Year-End Fundraising Stats You Can Use to Help Craft Your Campaign

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This guest post on year-end fundraising stats is from Nathan Hill at NextAfter. Every development professional understands the importance of year-end fundraising. The key to success at year-end is equally as well understood, but much harder to execute: to actually be seen and heard by your donors during one of the busiest times of the year. Here are 5 quick online year-end fundraising stats that can help you cut through the year-end fundraising clutter with your communications.

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3 reasons why I use curse words (but only one that matters)

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She told me others would say I was unprofessional. I was asked to lead a roundtable discussion at a conference recently. So I did. And afterward one of the attendees approached me as I got a cup of coffee in the sponsorship expo room. She said, “Greg, I really enjoyed your roundtable discussion but why on earth did you curse… twice? Don’t you worry that people will say you’re unprofessional?”

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5 Ways You Can Get Meetings with Major Donors (Even When They Won’t Answer their Phone)

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I hear the following all the time when I ask fundraisers about their efforts to land meetings with major and legacy donors: “I tried calling, but they didn’t answer the phone,” they say. So what’s really happening here.

10 reasons why donors and fundraisers like Rollover IRA giving

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We’re getting pretty good at marketing rollover IRAs here at MarketSmart. Here are some of the things we’ve learned as we’ve crafted a value proposition that generates massive amounts of money for good causes.

3 Reasons You Should Be Thinking about QCDs (Backed By Data + A Free Guide)

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How many decisions do you make each day? A quick google search yields our answer: somewhere near 35,000. That number may seem intimidating, “How can I make 35,000 decisions a day?” You might find yourself pondering. Research shows that we utilize a variety of techniques to help guide us through our daily lives.

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Here’s What Supporters “Buy” When They Donate to Charity

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I think buying and donating are the same. Here’s why. When I give money to a charity, I am buying: A chance to be moved by someone’s story in an emotional way. An opportunity to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help (this is especially true during disasters).

How I leave voicemail messages that get returned

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Generally here’s how I leave messages that get returned: APPRECIATION: I say ‘thank you’ (and I get sort of ’emotional and gracious’ in my tone… without going overboard). It’s important to convey emotion so you sound relatable… human!

Now Available: Executive Summary (PDF) of My Webinar On ‘Fundraising Climate Change’

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A few weeks ago I hosted a webinar about Fundraising Climate Change (a term I developed some time ago and included in my book titled Engagement Fundraising ). In the webinar I presented a ton of data supporting my claim that the fundraising environment has been shifting and the storm clouds have been gathering. I believe that, finally, the day of reckoning is upon us and too few organizations are ready.

Complacency is a prelude to disaster

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I know, change is hard. But I think too many people are afraid of change and disruption when they really should be afraid of being afraid. After all, the only thing we can truly depend upon is change. So why not embrace it? Or, why not take it one step further? Here’s what I mean.

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3 Things You Can Learn From $58B in Donations

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If you had $58B, you would be among some interesting company. 58B represents more wealth than Larry Page and Michael Bloomberg, but not enough to surpass Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos. Here at MarketSmart we certainly don’t have $58B sitting around, however we are privileged enough to have access to $58B in anonymous donation data from the 5,500+ users of our free Fundraising Report Card.

Are you avoiding your donors?

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Too often I’ve seen some ‘fundraisers’ do whatever they can to avoid actually talking to donors. “I can’t call ’em yet. I’m waiting for the wealth screening.'” ” “I really should send a letter to first.”

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Why You Need Tech-Enabled Donor Discovery

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For decades, fundraisers have sought a ‘magic box’ to identify the most ideal donor prospects for outreach, relationship-building, and solicitation. Of course they do. Who wouldn’t want one? With a ‘magic box’ a fundraiser could become much more efficient and effective. They’d be able to zero-in on the best donor prospects, call them up, land a meeting, build a relationship quickly, solicit a gift, close it, and take a victory lap around the office.

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