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Optimizing Your Planned Giving Marketing Strategy

Learning to market for planned giving requires questioning our own experiences in order to better understand our donors. The focus of this blog is to help us take a step back and look at the landscape of our personal experiences. In doing so, we may find that our experiences and beliefs can cloud our judgement. With this new awareness, we can question what we know and begin to think like a donor. Asking questions will create perspective within your communications and will develop a story in your messaging.

Questions to consider:

Are our supporters familiar with planned giving?

Do our supporters have an estate plan already?

Do our supporters need to create an estate plan?

How much time has passed since I last marketed planned giving?

Why are our supporters planning ahead?

Is there a need to take care of family (others and service oriented)?

Or is this personal and self-oriented?

These considerations will allow your focus to expand. These questions will help you engage beyond conversations you have with your relatives, friends or colleagues about estate planning. These questions may also shift your point of view away from your own personal planning. If you are reading this article, it is likely that you have some familiarity with gift planning. With even the most elementary knowledge of planned giving, you have something to share with your donors. Sharing this information is the key.

In my experience working with development staff and gift planners, I have found that many expect immediate results following their first e-newsletter or mailer. It can be deflating if initial efforts do not deliver the expected results and engagement. However, it is important to continually share information in order to create awareness. Consistency and repetition are necessary to see the desired results.

Keep in mind that there is a possibility that not enough awareness was created through your messaging. We have found marketing one focus or idea across several channels produces better results. You may feel that you are working to push the same message about bequests or IRA Rollover and creating marketing fatigue in your constituents. But it is likely that your supporters will need some time to think about the messaging before becoming more engaged.

Remaining consistent will ensure that you are on the right track. If your campaign includes sending email, print and social media posts, you can increase your reach. This means that your message reaches one donor twice or even three times within the same campaign. One marketing channel outperforming the others is expected within a multi-channel campaign. A consistent strategy will help you understand how you can best optimize each form of marketing to meet your needs.

Baby Boomers are embracing social media. While in your own experience those ages 57 and above may not be active on social media, recent trends have shown a select few are even more active than some Millennials. I would not go as far as to recommend shifting to only digital marketing in 2021. I will stress that remaining open to a query-based approach in marketing planning will yield fruit over time.

In an interview with Vince Fraumeni, Director of Planned Giving at Cal Poly Pomona, he explained that, "[donors] are paying attention and when they are ready, they will respond." He went on to share that a Cal Poly Pomona planned gift donor recently returned a print form a couple weeks ago. The original print piece was sent a year ago when they first launched their planned giving program. The bequest donor had held onto the form for an entire year until the timing was right.

It is important to understand your donors and communicate planned giving information to them appropriately. They may not be in any rush to respond immediately to your outreach. The best practice is to use a consistent, multi-channel approach (email, print and social media) to reach your supporters. If you are not sure where to begin, sending a survey may also be a great option. Surveys allow for your donors to voice their opinions and personality and will help you better understand how your donors are different from you and the people within your daily life.

Contact Crescendo for help with utilizing the best marketing strategies to reach your donor friends.

Hailey Dorthalina

By Hailey Dorthalina
Integrated Marketing Coordinator, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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