from a distanceFifth in a series: The Seven Deadly Sins of Planned Giving

Does your organization have stacks of outdated planned giving brochures gathering dust in a closet somewhere? If so, your organization isn’t alone.
Our fifth sin, “marketing from a distance” means you’re likely using passive websites, preprinted brochures (discussing complex gifts no one even understands), direct mail and email boilerplate copy – and all the other collateral of the past that has mostly been ineffective, to generate leads.
Bringing in new leads and leading those donors to making a plan gift needs to be strategic, intentional and personal. Here’s how we break it down:

  1. Strategic — Do you know which donors in your database to target? Or are you just mailing everyone some generic brochure? Are you asking the right questions of your donors to understand their interest? Are you using technology to help donors self-identify their interest in making a planned gift?
  2. Intentional — Have you created a marketing plan which markets the most common and accessible planned gifts, focusing on simple wills and estate plans? Remember, this is about 80% of all total planned gifts. Be intentional about making it easy for a donor. Don’t knock them over the head with complex information that a lawyer would have to explain. We’ve seen too many non-profits market complex gifts with boilerplate brochures that are cold and impersonal. This is why they’re stacked in your closet gathering dust.
  3. Personal — Talk to your donors like they’re humans, so they know that your organization has a soul. Use language that makes everything about the donor’s desire to make a difference because they’re moved by your mission. Generating a lead is great; how you respond to that donor makes all the difference. Make sure you qualify that donor, then create a plan to understand that donor’s passions and interests. Then you can tailor a solicitation that meets the donor’s desires. Make your marketing and your follow up personal.

When we assess an organization’s planned giving program, part of our work is to evaluate the source of your leads – which helps us understand the effectiveness of your collateral material and your communication efforts. Many non-profits are spending a ton of money on newsletters, brochures, direct mail, etc., and they’re not generating quality leads.
You should be evaluating your program at least annually and know how effective your lead generation strategy is. Ask yourself, “Is it strategic, intentional and personal?” If it is, the data will back it up.
PS — Learn more about the Veritus approach to planned giving here.
Read the whole series “The Seven Deadly Sins of Planned Giving”

  1. First Deadly Sin of Planned Giving: Not Focusing on Meaningful Connections
  2. Second Deadly Sin of Planned Giving: Ineffective Lead Generation
  3. Third Deadly Sin of Planned Giving: Overloading Caseloads
  4. Fourth Deadly Sin of Planned Giving: No Plan for Every Donor
  5. Fifth Deadly Sin of Planned Giving: Marketing from a Distance (This Post)
  6. Sixth Deadly Sin of Planned Giving: No Plan for Stewardship
  7. Seventh Deadly Sin of Planning Giving: Over-emphasizing Professional Advisors