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


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.

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10 traits of terrible major and legacy gift fundraisers


Sadly, I’ve witnessed all of these but I truly believe #1 is the worst. Here are my top 10 traits of terrible fundraisers that drive major donors away: . Showing up late; 9. Failing to do something that was promised; 8. Talking about how great they are at raising money; 7.

What everyone is missing about the 2018 $410 billion giving figure from Giving USA


$410 billion. Hooray! Right? Not so fast! Lots of folks are not so happy. So today I’m going to tell you what they are missing that makes them all wrong for being so salty. First, here are some of the downers I recently read and heard after the $410 billion figure was announced. . Holding pens. The biggest surge was in giving to holding pens such as foundations. Many philanthropists gave their money to their own foundations and donor-advised funds, not directly to charities.

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Top 2 cringeworthy things some fundraisers say to major donor prospects (and what they might want to say instead)


“I’d like to meet you to update you / tell you what we do / tell you what we’ve been doing , etc.” ” I’ve had fundraisers approach me this way. It’s all about them and their organization.

How you can email your supporters every single day


You can, indeed, email your supporters every single day. . I realize you and your communications team members probably just fell out of your chairs. After all, they worked so hard on their email schedule.

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What do you really think about DONOR SCORING?


Here are some types of donor scores I’ve seen: Wealth scores. Capacity scores. Legacy gift likelihood scores. Major gift likelihood scores. Annual gift likelihood scores. And, here’s what I’ve read about what the scores are supposed to provide: .

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Top 7 Fundraising In’s and Out’s for 2018


OUT: Making donors feel bad , twisting their arms, telling them to give ’til it hurts and shaming them. IN: Making donors feel good , treating them like people (not ATM’s), partnering and giving them the value they want.

Why you should never get a job and go to work.


I taught my kids to avoid using the words job , work and can’t. To me a job is what some people get so they can work to get money; and if they fail to find one, they might say it’s because they can’t. I’ve had lots of jobs. I got paid plenty of money for my work. I never said, “I can’t.”.

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Cold calling major donors to arrange appointments doesn’t work— but this method does


No one likes getting cold calls and you probably don’t like making them.

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9 reasons why people put money in holding pens (such DAFs or foundations) instead of giving directly right away


Indecisive. They want and need to give and they might have organizations in mind, but they haven’t decided where to give yet. Fearful. They are afraid to give impulsively. They’ve done that before and encountered donor remorse. So they put the money in the holding pen as a ‘circuit breaker’ 3. Unprepared. They have a good idea of which organization they want to give to but feel they still need to do their due diligence before they pull the trigger. Uncertain.

Don’t survey your donors unless you have cultivation ready to go


Let’s start at the beginning. Almost 10 years ago, when MarketSmart was a marketing agency for private sector businesses and I first offered to help a charity generate leads, I recommended an outreach effort that included a mini-survey. It worked! So we expanded it to a more comprehensive survey and it worked even better. The only problem was that the organization didn’t have enough staff to call the highly qualified leads. I thought that was terrible.

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Do email open rates matter?


Not really. Not much. Look, many browsers automatically open emails these days. That warps the metrics. Instead of asking about open rates, you should be asking more important questions such as: Do our donors engage with our emails? Do they click on them? Do they go to the web page?

Is it time to banish photos of fundraisers and oversized checks?


I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but I have always felt uncomfortable seeing a bunch of fundraisers holding an oversized check. Perhaps, subconsciously I wondered: Who are those people and why are they congratulating themselves ? What will they do with that money?

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Are you playing games with your supporters?


Sadly some fundraisers think they’re playing a game. But if only one participant is playing, what’s the other one doing? Being played! At its core, fundraising is not about games. It’s about service. So step outside of yourself and your organization. Feel what it’s like to be a donor.

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Prospect Research and the Consideration Continuum with Kelley McGeehan (Season 2, Episode 8)


Kelley McGeehan is Principal Consultant and Owner of McGeehan Research. She is a prospect researcher and in this episode we get a chance to explore why prospect research is valuable, the consideration continuum, why some organizations fail even with the right data at the right time and much more. You can find Kelley at

The single difference between above average and below average fundraisers


Above average fundraisers have developed the ability to create and deliver value where the donor has never thought to look for it. Related Posts: >>Value. Donor Offer Value Checklist. LIKE THIS BLOG POST? LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW AND/OR SHARE IT WITH YOUR PEERS!

Fundraising Climate Change (EF-S02-E09)


The climate has changed for donors, nonprofits, and fundraising. Learn about this change and how to adapt to meet these new donor expectations. Learn more about MarketSmart at [link]. The post Fundraising Climate Change (EF-S02-E09) appeared first on MarketSmart, LLC |. Podcast

3 things you can do when fundraising is no longer fun and you want a new job.


Turnover. If you’ve been in fundraising for any length of time you probably already know that turnover is a problem in the sector. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy , the average turnover rate of nonprofit fundraisers is sixteen months. Ack! .

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How asking for advice helps fundraisers: (1) qualify donors for their portfolios AND (2) build deeper relationships


Your donors want a partner, not a solicitor. Partners ask for advice before asking for money. Partners looking for advice are looking to collaborate. Partners requesting advice are less threatening. Partners requesting advice motivate supporters to ‘lean’ in. Partners requesting advice inspire exponentially more dollars throughout their long-term, mutually beneficial relationships. Your donors’ first gift is their time and effort.

Have you been harassed by the ‘brand’ police?


Run, it's the brand police! Unfortunately, many major and planned gift officers are subject to harassment by the 'brand' police. They impede your progress telling you the colors are off, the font size is too small, or the pictures are wrong. Sometimes they even tell you the pixels online are incorrect. Here’s the issue. Too often they think ‘brand’ is a verb. But when it comes to marketing, it's really a noun. A brand is what your organization IS at its core.

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BENCHMARKING YOURSELF: Ever wonder how you’re doing compared to others?


If you’re competitive like me, you probably want to see how your organization compares to its peers. Now you can do that in seconds, for FREE! My team took all the data from our Fundraising Report Card (2,600 organization’s transactions) and built a nifty little live benchmarking app.

There’s power in exclusivity but are you using it?


Unlike populist fundraisers (who treat everyone the same), engagement fundraisers aim to find and build relationships with “first class passengers”— people who are willing to “pay” more (with major and legacy gifts). .

Mass marketing, relationships and trust.


One-to-many marketing/fundraising relationships are the same as personal relationships. Trust is essential. But, if you send spammy emails and direct mailers that are impersonal, irrelevant, interruptive, and annoying, your supporters won’t trust you or your employer.

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Have some fun with MarketSmart’s word search!


Want some fun? My team recently created a word search for our new interns. It includes a bunch of different words and phrases used in the sector and here at MarketSmart. Try it out! Click here to download the PDF! Word List. ANIMAL RIGHTS. BEQUEST CALCULATOR. CAPITAL CAMPAIGN. CHARITY. CITY OF HOPE.

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Do you aim your messages at supporters or targets?


Unfortunately just about all of us are capable of conceiving of people as just functions rather than human beings.

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Silver BBs and Culture with Andrew Olsen (Season 2, Episode 6)


Joining Engagement Fundraising is Andrew Olsen, senior vice president of Newport One. If you are a fundraiser trying to find that silver bullet then this episode is for you. Andrew will be diving into why there are no silver bullets or unicorns and instead why it takes a lot of little things to make a big impact. Click here to listen on YouTube! Topic Timestamps. Silver BBs? [02:35]. 02:35]. How to work in organizations with difficult boards? [05:52]. 05:52].

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Today I want to tell you about some amazing people


When I get in at 7 am, I see them. And, when I leave at 7 pm, I see them. Working. There’s fire in their eyes and passion in their hearts. I apologize to them. I hate to see them working so hard. Then, I let them know how thankful I am for their passion and diligence. People who work so hard deserve such gratitude.

What’s missing from most nonprofit mission statements?


Last week I wrote a post that ruffled some feathers. I do that from time to time. It’s probably because everything I think, write and create begins with the donor in mind — not the fundraiser. Sorry.

Donors give when THEY want to give, not when YOU want them to give


It ain’t about you. Unsuccessful fundraisers want donors to give on their timeline, not the donor’s. They think they can make the donor ‘move’ when they want them to ‘move’ They ignore where the donor resides in the consideration process.

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Top 10 Ways You Can Benefit from Conducting a Donor Survey


Raise money – If you want advice, ask for money. If you want money ask for advice. Surveys raise money. Identify – Decide who your best donor prospects are based on what they say. Generate leads – Get major donor and legacy gift prospects to raise their hands showing interest in giving or volunteering. Qualify – Ensure that you spend your time wisely with hi-capacity, passionate, motivated supporters. Prioritize – Determine who requires attention most urgently.

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The Day of Reckoning (Season 2, Episode 10)


The day of reckoning is coming for nonprofits all across the world. Will your organization be ready? Learn what is coming and how to be ready. Learn more about MarketSmart at [link]. The post The Day of Reckoning (Season 2, Episode 10) appeared first on MarketSmart, LLC |. Podcast

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3 simple ways fundraisers can improve their LinkedIn profiles to land more meetings and raise more money


Most fundraiser’s LinkedIn profiles are screwed up! They look like resumes, not invitations. After all, are you trying to raise money or are you looking for another job?

Why your job is to get donors to talk to themselves.


Your job is not to come up with words and images that will persuade or convince people to give. Instead, your job is to come up with words and images that will inspire people to persuade or convince themselves to give. You cannot make people do anything. Inspiring self-talk is the key. . It’s only when people talk to themselves that they make decisions. Therefore, your job is to engage donors in a way that inspires self-talk that makes them feel good.

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Is it time to dump donor ‘scores’?


Are scores really worth the trouble? It seems like every service provider has a scoring system for your donors. They've got capacity scores, likelihood scores, and MarketSmart even has an engagement score. But I have yet to find a fundraiser who solely relies on a score for anything. Why score? I think most major and legacy gift fundraisers really want to know three things: Does the supporter have capacity to make a meaningful impact?

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Why do staff at smaller charities seem to have more time to write heartfelt thank you notes?


Some charities send me amazing ‘thank you notes’ They are personal, relevant and heartfelt. They make me feel all warm and fuzzy. And, they make me want to give again and again. But I’m perplexed.

Find your dream job with these 3 simple steps


If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there. Here’s how to start with the end in mind so you can be resolute in finding the best fitting job for you and your dreams. First, dream.

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Road Rage Effect and Being Fair to Donors with Jim Langley (EF-S02-E05)


We are joined again by special guest, Jim Langley, president of Langley Innovations. Make sure to listen to the last episode to hear the first part of this conversation. Educational institutes adapting to donor needs and being fair to your donors are the main topics discussed.

11 best practices for your legacy society communications


When it comes to legacy gifts, most fundraisers 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 them.

The 5 p’s of engagement fundraising


1- Permission. Donors have immense power these days. They can ignore your communications! The best way to ensure that they don’t exercise that power is to gain their permission to communicate with them. Having a list of 100,000 matters little if no one engages with your outreach.

6 major donor expectations you simply cannot ignore


Dialogue. Major donors expect to be able to have a dialogue with an organization and its staff. Permission. Major donors expect to maintain power over whether or not they grant permission for dialogue to happen. Convenience. Major donors expect their engagements to be convenient for them. Focus.