The charitable community always fervently debates whether to advertise lower gift annuity rates to prospects. The ruckus has been going on since back in November of 2019, when the American Council on Gift Annuities suggested a rate drop starting January 1.
The new rates are here. They have been for months. It’s time to settle this and move on.
Never Base Marketing on Annuity Rates
We simply don’t recommend it. Why?
Because your brand and mission must remain on target. Your mission is your “lovemark” — just as companies have trademarks. This is a simple marketing principle. When you focus on timing the market, rather than adhering to your nonprofit’s long-term goals and reasons for being, it erodes your brand.
Blue Light Special, Aisle 3
If you’re advertising that annuity rates are about to go down, you’re essentially shouting “Come and get it before it’s too late!” That makes you sound like you’re Kmart, running a Blue Light Special. Is that really how you want people to see your nonprofit? (Hint: No, it’s not)
On the other hand, if you’re advertising that the rates are about to go up, you’re basically telling potential donors: “Wait! Now is not a good time to give.” And that’s never the kind of message to send prospects. They’ll just find another nonprofit that’s happy to take their gift … today.
Marketing-Minded vs Legally-Minded
This is a common issue when the folks in charge of marketing are “legally minded,” but not for those who are truly brand, marketing and donor-focused. Savvy marketers know that planned gift marketing should focus on:
- Supporting the good that you do (your mission).
- Helping prospects meet a personal planning objective (like increasing retirement income).
This is a donor-centric approach that ensures your appeals will produce qualified leads, regardless of gift annuity rates. Here are some tips on how to begin your planned giving marketing program.
The Bottom Line
Stay on target with your mission and remind your audience who you are, why you exist, and what you are trying to accomplish.
And leave annuity rate news for Wall Street.
Webinar On This Topic of Declining Gift Annuity Rates with me and Scott Janney and as to why you should not use annuity rates to market CGAs.