Street Smart Marketing?

Donate Stock Planned Giving Blog

Perhaps we’re not there yet with aerial banners. But look below what one of my clients did with a billboard.

Three ways this is smart:

  1. Gets a message across in simple plain English.
  2. Carries humor with class.
  3. Takes advantage of a season of giving (Christmas and “tax-wise” year-end).

I’ve been advocating this for years. For those who are bold, they take our advice. For those who are meek and easily imposed upon, remain vanilla. Unnoticed. This is why the meek don’t lead. And that’s why they are not my clients.

I love the billboard above that was produced by John Ready and his team at Valley Community Foundation for the Valley Gives Back™ planned giving initiative (Derby, CT). Our clients are simply brilliant.

For a high resolution PDF, see this page.

This kind of a marketing move takes street smarts (excuse the pun, but it is on a street…) and those who are street smart always make more, and raise more.

You simply do not need a Ph.D. to raise more.

Notice the humor on the billboard. We have been advocating humor for 20 years and many are scared to take our advice. Their excuse? “Our donors are sophisticated.” Please explain how you define “sophisticated.” A Smith College grad? A Penn Wharton grad? All my classmates from Penn liked slapstick humor; many went into “unsophisticated” small businesses, and one even became very wealthy by playing rock-and-roll and writing music — that’s after turning down admission to med school (Johns Hopkins), just like I did.

My dad was the so called “sophisticated” donor … a professor, surgeon here at Jefferson Health, Johns Hopkins guy. His level of sophistication consisted of growing tomatoes and watching reruns of the Lucy show.

Get with the program and stop pigeonholing us as edgy. We’re just, simply, creative.

“I prefer living a thrilling life. That way I know I have a heartbeat.”

Kudos to John Ready. He gets it.

Speaking of simple, here are descriptions of how gift planning vehicles work. A must-read for the newby and a good tool for the seasoned professional to market them effectively. If you are curious to see how I got into the planned giving, visit this page.


Avatar Kelley R.J. Tetzlaff

Couldn’t agree more Viken- great thoughts and ideas. I love edgy. For those who think they are to “sophisticated” (and that is not just in the fundraising field by the way!) they need to GET OVER IT! If you don’t think life is full of humor then you are not paying attention to life!

Let’s have some fun with humor and disrupt the boring and plain vanilla old fundraising modle.

Thanks again.

Great piece! I’m still trying to get one of my clients to name bathrooms, will keep plugging away at it!


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