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Planned Giving Literature: A Design Course

Effective planned giving literature combines images and art, color and copy, to show your supporters your important work and mission. Thoughtfully written and well-designed literature can be a great teaching tool for donors at all stages of the learning and planning process.

Personal Planning 101

When planning for our future, we make important decisions that will directly affect ourselves and those we care about. Literature that focuses on personal planning should be designed with the message that having a plan is important for our own well-being, that of our loved ones and the organizations we support. Using photographs that show people spending time together or actively working on their plans are good reminders that plans are made for those who matter most and that engaging in the process is an integral part of life.

The fonts used in donor marketing have an impact on your donors’ feelings. Open and friendly looking fonts can convey feelings of reassurance that comes from having a plan. Decisiveness and accomplishment can be shown with fonts that are bold and measured.

There are thousands of colors available for printed literature and millions of colors that can be seen through a device’s screen. The colors you select in your marketing can help convey your message. One way to choose color is a method I learned from a fellow designer — choosing colors from the photos in the piece to make everything work together. Using the same color palette in this way creates harmony. If an excited call to action is the focus, then contrasting colors will create positive energy.

Bequests and Beyond

Making a plan gives us peace of mind. It also gives us clarity. We can see how our life has been shaped thus far, and the resources we have built that will help us reach future goals.

Literature that talks about advanced giving options should feature photographs of people who are the right age for making these gifts. Charities should use images that show their good work. Personal imagery resonates with donors who are happy to see their values at work and doing good.

Changing Tax Laws

As tax laws change, our plans may change also. Literature explaining new laws and offering guidance on financial and charitable giving opportunities is important to keep our plan updated and in line with our goals.

Designing for changing laws can appeal to many things we all care about. Generally, images and designs reflecting family, friends and helping our favorite organizations are well received.

For corporate and business-minded donors, the visual references around meaningful work are familiar and comfortable. Design elements that invoke finance such as lines in graphs and on pin-striped suits, steel high-rises and font types present in financial papers can be used. Structured layouts are easy to read for people who have limited time and expect to understand concepts quickly. The layout is in their language and they can see that their gifts are being stewarded in an efficient manner.

In conclusion, your planned gifts marketing should “tell” donors about what is important— making a plan for yourself and your family, ways you can give that benefit you and the organizations you care about, and ways to adjust your plan as new laws arise. Showing these things highlights what we all care about — family, friends, communities, organizations, business, meaningful work and wealth creation. Finding the message that speaks to each unique donor will help communicate shared values and encourage commitment to your cause.

Anita Brument

By Anita Brument
Senior Interactive Designer, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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