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Improving the Visual Appeal of Your Donor Communications Can Increase Your Responses. Want to Know How?

Does your marketing look good?  How does aesthetics impact the responses to donor communications?  As part of Crescendo’s newly released study, How to Attract Donors & Increase Response to Your Marketing, we performed a series of tests to assess the importance of visual appeal in planned and major gifts marketing.

In one test, Crescendo designed two emails for Mount Carmel Foundation, a hospital foundation. Both emails utilized the same subject line — “Help Us Support the Critical Healthcare Needs of Central Ohio” — and call to action.

Version A included a single image at the top of the email with the foundation logo overlaid in the corner of the photo. The email body incorporated key information about the foundation’s mission and an effective emotional appeal, bulleted information about bequest giving and then a call to action. Version B featured the same top image as Version A. Version B, however, included additional photos that focused on the hospital’s mission, and instead of bullets, used icons that corresponded to information about bequest giving.

Both emails were delivered to more than 5,500 supporters. The recipients included: (1) donors who had given for five or more years, though not necessarily in consecutive years; (2) donors who had given for 10 or more consecutive years; (3) donors who had given at least $10,000 in total gifts; and (4) donors age 60 or older.

How did the visual appeal of these emails impact results?  Version B, with the stronger imagery, was the clear winner. Version B outperformed Version A by a ratio of more than 3 to 1. Version B had a CTR of 4.16% while Version A had a CTR of 1.29%.

Using photos and icons that correlate with key information in your marketing can create greater visual appeal and improve the results of your communications.  For more ways to attract donors and increase response to your marketing, contact Crescendo at 800-858-9154.

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About Kristen Schultz Jaarda, JD, LLM

Kristen Schultz Jaarda

Kristen Schultz Jaarda is Executive Vice President of Crescendo Interactive, Inc. She specializes in charitable tax planning and online marketing for planned gifts. She is responsible for client education and leads Crescendo's marketing services and support team. She is a nationally recognized speaker, conducts seminars nationwide and is a principal faculty member of GiftCollege.

Kristen serves as a board member for the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) and as a member of the ACGA Rates and State Regulations Committees, Editorial Advisory Board member for Planned Giving Today, Committee Member for the ABA Charitable Planning and Organization's Group, past Legislative Chair and a board member for the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Greater Los Angeles (PPP-LA), a member of the Ventura County Planned Giving Council and a committee member and volunteer for several California charities. She writes weekly for CrescendoTweet and her planned giving blog.

Previously, Kristen served as Counsel to the Assistant Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C. and was Oversight Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. Prior to that, she worked in a public affairs law practice. Kristen graduated from UCLA School of Law where she was Law Review Editor. She completed her Tax LL.M. with honors at Loyola School of Law. Kristen is a member of the California State Bar, D.C. Bar and the Maryland State Bar.


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