3 Proven, Personalized Planned Giving Marketing Strategies

Have you ever wondered if there are any truly effective planned giving marketing strategies–or if donor engagement comes down to pure luck?

It might feel this way, because different planned giving marketing companies disagree on what really works, so I wanted to take a moment to tell you there IS one good marketing strategy out there that’s been PROVEN to work.

marketing strategy on whiteboard

Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress was eye-opening. It was remarkable to learn how they cull our personal data to make ads and messaging more effective. And while the point of this blog isn’t to start a debate about data privacy, the data collection Zuckerberg discussed makes it crystal clear was that effective marketing is personal.

Good fundraisers instinctively know this. And it affects how they approach donors. Think about how you approach donors for an annual fund, for example. 

Strategy Is Instinctive

You review donors’ giving history and then leverage that data to present the individual donor with an ask that’s slightly higher than what they’ve given in the past.

If a donor is particularly loyal, you may include a sentence or paragraph acknowledging their loyalty. On the other hand, if the donor’s loyalty has lapsed, you inject language designed to woo them back.  

When you do this, you use data to craft a personal message designed to soften a targeted donor so they feel known and respond favorably.

Your organization would never consider hiring an annual fund consultant who didn’t know how to analyze giving history or how to use versioning and personalization in your appeals. 

So, wouldn’t it make sense to use the same personalization in your planned giving marketing strategy? Why is there a push to send a generic ask for planned gifts when we know impersonal content is always less effective? 

The short answer: Generic, prewritten planned giving marketing materials are cheaper and easier to produce.

Generic Content Means Higher Profit

The industry is dominated with providers who sell the same content, in the same format, to as many nonprofits as possible. And they advise those non-profits to mail to as many donors as their budget permits. That’s a profitable business model for them. 

But is it good for you? 

But a top-performing planned giving marketing partner knows relevant personalization is far more effective. And with so much at stake, they don’t advise their clients to risk results in favor of saving a little time and money. 

Strategy Means Response

At PGM, we recommend 3 planned giving marketing strategies that are proven to get donors to respond: 

  Leverage Data: Data is a powerful way to stop guessing and start knowing. When we leverage data, we’re able to segment the intended audience by a variety of factors, including donation history, demographic, interests, connection to the organization, and more. 

  Target Your Message: Once we’ve culled the data, we are equipped to write targeted messages to different segments of our supporters in a way that is far more meaningful to them.

  Make it Personal: With a person receives a message that is targeted to them, they feel a personal connection. They feel known and valued in a way that just isn’t possible from a generic sales piece written for Any Donor in Any Town, USA.

man with target

How To Use the 3 Proven Planned Giving Marketing Strategies

Legacy Society Member/Non-Member Segmenting: What’s the best way to lose your legacy society members? Ignore them.

Imagine receiving a letter that asks you to leave a planned gift (and join the Legacy Society) when you’re already a member! It feels like someone isn’t paying attention–and might even make a Society Member feel you aren’t being careful with “their” money! 

Use your data to be targeted and personal! Smart planned giving partners advise against sending Legacy Society members the same materials you send to everyone else. They create unique messaging for this special audience, which may include two versions of a cover letter, or even a special seal indicating their membership on the outside of the mailer.

Class Year/Reunion Versioning: Planned Giving fundraisers at colleges and independent schools are smart to target returning alumni. Nostalgia and peer pressure (yes, peer pressure endures well beyond our adolescence) are significant philanthropic motivators.

Rather than a broad-based message inviting everyone to consider a planned gift in honor of reunion, create versions of the invitation to personalize it by class year. Include an “Honor Roll” of alumni that recognizes classmates who have already made a commitment. Use your data to make your message personal, targeted, and clear: “This isn’t about just any reunion. This is about YOUR reunion.”

Age-specific Charitable Gift Annuity Illustrations:  If there is one type of planned gift where age does matter, it’s the charitable gift annuity, because age determines your rate. This is where it’s important to cull your data by age and graduation date and avoid sending out a generic rate chart.

Running calculations for your donor file requires additional effort, and transferring that data to a personalized direct mailer takes a bit of care, but the results speak for themselves.

hit the target

Make it work for you

You don’t need to be Facebook or Google to create data-driven marketing campaigns that get results. Take your planned giving marketing to the next level by using the data you have. Creativity and a little effort goes a long way toward generating better leads and more planned gift commitments. 

At PGM, we partner with planned giving fundraisers to produce top-performing programs. We develop, design and deploy personalized, targeted marketing communication that works.

If you’re frustrated with the results you’re getting from generic marketing, give us a shout. Our expert data-driven marketing advisors are ready to help you attract donors with custom marketing that gets more prospects to raise their hand.

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Contact Us

The best way to engage more planned giving donors is with effective marketing. We would love to help. Please give us a call, send an email, or fill out the form to get started.

Planned Giving Marketing
620 W. Germantown Pike, Suite 440, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
P: 484-680-7600 | F: 877-865-6812

© 2020 Planned Giving Marketing. This site is informational and educational in nature. It is not offering professional tax, legal, or accounting advice. For specific advice about the effect of any planning concept on your tax or financial situation or with your estate, please consult a qualified professional advisor. Privacy Policy