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Developing Your Own Planned Giving Website

Planned Giving Website Inhouse

Reality Check: It Takes More Than You Think.

Some organizations have trouble getting out of their own way. Recently, an IT functionary at a large Midwestern institution went over the heads of Development to cancel a contract they had just signed with our firm. (In one case, an actual Development person decided to do it herself!)

Apparently this IT person was feeling territorial and thought, “Why buy a website? We can build one ourselves!” He didn’t realize what he was getting himself and his organization into in terms of time, effort, expense, and more…

…though he may know now.

Remember:

  • Copy must be written, edited, reviewed (by peers and counsel) and revised, not once but multiple times.
  • Once delivered in draft form, your website must be extensively debugged to ensure its architecture incorporates logical navigation and wayfinding.
  • While your site is under construction, you’ll be making steady demands on the time of your designer and webmaster… and your webmaster already has to answer to everyone else at your organization, too.
  • Is your site up? Congratulations. But you’re not done yet. So that your presence on the Internet doesn’t go stale, you should regularly update your site to keep pace with changes in rates and tax laws and add new donor testimonials.

Opportunity Costs

These tasks incur not only direct costs, but opportunity costs in the form of contacts not made, prospects not visited and gifts not closed while you and your staff construct your website. When you do it yourself, you ask your planned giving staff to become part-time Web designers. Is that an efficient use of their time and skills?

Think that by doing it yourself you’ll save money? Consider this: Some top-rated fundraising operations have spent six to eighteen months getting self-designed sites operational, only to be less than satisfied with the final results. Can you afford to commit that kind of in-house effort?

We can do it all for you:

  • Designing websites that deliver motivated prospects is our business. We know how to write copy that both informs and intrigues, how to incorporate visual cues and navigational techniques that draw the reader through the site, how to place interactive features that extend the prospect’s visit.
  • We completely customize each site. We can reflect your brand or, if you wish, develop a separate visual presence for your program. The text will cover all of the gifts you offer (legally correct, yet with a marketing focus) and follow your gift acceptance policies. Your age and gift minimums are reflected and whether or not you serve as trustee.
  • We keep your site current. We monitor tax law and rate changes and automatically update your site to reflect them. We will add (and rotate!) donor profiles and keep staff contact information fresh.

PlannedGiving.Com can deliver a website that is online faster than if you produced it yourself, cheaper than if you hired a Web developer, and that generates more interested prospects than one produced by a graphic designer. The result? You can focus on what you do best – raise money for your organization.

In short, you’ll do your job and not play web developer.

Our planned giving websites are part of our comprehensive, Web-centric marketing program that can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your prospect communications. If you don’t need a complete package, we won’t bust your budget: you can select any of our tools a la carte.

A Reminder

Making phone calls, writing letters, scheduling visits – you’ve got to stay in touch with your prospects.

Have a gift under way? You’re sweating the details with the donor’s advisors and your financial staff. Get the quarterly checks out; don’t forget stewardship; isn’t it time for another meeting of the Legacy Society?

Development teams have always functioned with multiple demands on their time. Today they must also account for their productivity to management increasingly focused on call rates and gift quotas. So not only is finding the time to develop a planned giving website in-house difficult, but the time spent may not impress your boss.

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