Planned Giving Marketing
By Viken Mikaelian
Many fundraisers are scared to use what they call “edgy” content in their planned giving marketing communications.
We call it having a “spirited” dialog with your prospects. Number one excuse? “But my prospects are different.”
It’s too bad. Many trade the security of not “offending” anyone with the reward of not being heard at all. Trading copy with life and emotion against dry and formal.
It is not uncommon to see fear driving people instead of opportunity. This happens in the business world as well.
Here’s my recommendation: begin with edgy content and tone it down gradually if necessary. That’s what we do. The alternative? Begin with deadly boring copy. And then you’re stuck trying to bring the dead back to life. And in the planned giving world, we know that does not happen.
Before you make a judgment call on your marketing pieces, don’t ask your boss right away. He or she shares the same culture as you do. Instead, ask 10 donors and/or get the opinion of your board. If everyone agrees that it’s okay, go back to the drawing board. If 8 say fantastic and 2 say no way, implement it.
That’s just edgy enough to get heard. There is nothing wrong with spirited communication.
You can play it vanilla, or you can be heard. What will you choose?
Bill Gates and one of our clients, ALS: Ice Bucket Challenge.
The classic cry of the binge marketer is "Oops... business is slow. I guess I’d better do some marketing and send out a mailing." If you find yourself in the middle of a quiet spell, thinking that a few actions, a couple of phone calls and a mailing here and there will get things moving again, you need to rethink your strategy.
You’d never guess by looking at Thomas Chandler Cruikshank Bond, III, that he battled drug addiction for two decades, that he was jailed half a dozen times, or that he spent four years living in abandoned houses in East Baltimore. In fact, even if you had met him during most of those dark years, you never would have guessed what was really going on under his façade. Continue reading
Who are they? What do they care about? What are their hopes, fears, dreams? What are their deepest desires?
With the answers to these questions, you can show prospects how planned gifts fulfill dreams. You will also be showing empathy.
Find out who inspires your prospects. That will soon tell you what is most important to them.
I hear this all the time: “My prospects are sophisticated and they have to be treated differently.” My answer is they are human and are no different than any other being.
If you feel your prospects are “really different,” chances are you’re hanging out with a few sophisticated (and detail- oriented) donors and making assumptions about the rest. My hunch is that you are alienating a majority with financial advice and high-brow messaging. Continue reading
Have you educated your prospects recently?
Considering more and more Americans are not drafting a will, beneficiary designations are a great way to secure legacy gifts efficiently and inexpensively.
Unfortunately, just as most Americans do not know the term “Bequest,” many also do not know what a “Beneficiary Designation” is.