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How Can I Measure the Success of our Planned Giving Program?

Have you felt like a deer in the headlights when your board or leadership asks you to report on the performance of your planned giving program? You are not alone. It is important to remember that planned giving is a long-range game. While it can be very helpful to consider how much money you have raised in life-income gifts or how many bequest intentions have been fulfilled, there are often a multitude of factors to consider.

While realized gifts can be important measures for performance, they are not the be-all end-all. Another important factor that needs to be considered is your progress based on your marketing and stewardship touches.

One way to review the efficacy of your planned gifts program is through assessing your marketing. How have you seen progress in direct correlation with your marketing strategies?

Here are some measures for success: Some marketing touches to look at include your website and enewsletter analytics, your outreach materials and your marketing plan. At a glance, you will be able to follow up with who is most interested in learning about planned giving based on interactions with your emails and website. Your analytics can convert web traffic into real names in real time. You can see what pages are visited on your website, what materials are downloaded and more.

You can also take a look at your enewsletter analytics activity to determine your success. Has your email list grown? Are you seeing a progression in your open and click-thru rates? Perhaps you sent information about a wills seminar coming up and have seen attendance grow.

You may want to review your literature offerings. You may want to measure the number of outreach materials you have sent and responses you have received. How many donor proposals have you created? How many direct mailings have you sent? How many times have you included information about planned giving in your communications? You will want to review if you received responses to each of these categories.

Do you have a marketing plan? Imagine you completed your goals from your marketing plan each month and you are about to look at a plan for your next fiscal year. Before creating a new plan, it’s helpful to determine which parts of your current plan produced results. For example, you might see that your three-week social media campaign added 30 new enewsletter sign-ups. You now have 30 new possible leads to steward. Measuring results according to your marketing plan can encourage progress year after year.

Another factor in your growth and progress can be found in your stewardship activities, events and outreach. If you have a legacy society, this is especially relevant. You will want to look at the increase in the number of legacy society members. For example, if you started with five generous donors, and after a year or two of consistent stewardship, you add 35 people to your Legacy Society. That is significant progress! Due to this growth, you may begin to add more creative events throughout the year.

Here are some more measurements to consider: How many outreach events are you hosting? Perhaps you have an annual luncheon or dinner and one or two fun events throughout the year. How was the attendance at these events? You should also inspect your stewardship communications. How many birthday and anniversary cards did you send this year? How many phone calls and donor visits did you make?

The possibilities are endless. No doubt you will begin to see growth based on your marketing and stewardship efforts. You should start to track how many gifts were closed or how many gift intentions you received due to these efforts. These types of measures will enable you to achieve your long-term goals and provide the progress report needed to keep moving forward.

If you would like to explore ways to grow your planned giving program, please contact us. We are here to help.

Bree Daniel

By Bree Daniel
Integrated Marketing - Southeast Region, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.

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