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?

As a fundraiser, you’ve heard it all. You know different planned giving marketing companies disagree on what really works, so I wanted to take a moment to tell you there IS a good marketing strategy out there that’s been PROVEN to work.

marketing strategy on whiteboard

The best place to look is to those who are wildly successful at marketing. And who is more successful than the marketing genuises at Facebook. Sure it’s creepy the lengths they go to monitor our personal data to make ads and messaging more effective. But the point of this blog isn’t to start a debate about data privacy. The point is that Facebook is a great example of effective marketing. And what is the secret formula for Facebook? They make the messages personal.

Personal Messages Are Instinctive

Good fundraisers instinctively know to do this, too. Think about how you approach donors. 

You review donors’ giving history and then leverage that data to present the individual 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’re using data to guide your personal message so you can pre-suade a targeted donor to respond favorably.

You know this is important in marketing messages, too. 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? 

I’ll tell you why: because generic, prewritten planned giving marketing material is 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? 

We’ve just talked about the importance of personalization. Shouldn’t a top-performing planned giving marketing partner know that  relevant personalization is far more effective? And with so much at stake, shouldn’t they advise their clients how to get better results so they get the best response from their investment? 

Strategy Means Response

At PGM, we recommend 3 planned giving marketing strategies. All of these strategies have been 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 personalized 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. Personalization is more than just adding a name. It’s understanding which messages matter to the person reading.

man with target

How To Use the 3 Proven Planned Giving Marketing Strategies

Legacy Society Member/Non-Member Segmenting

Imagine receiving a letter that invites you to  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 as though the organization isn’t being careful with “their” money! 

Use your data to make these messages more 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.

But your marketing would be more effective with personalization. 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 will go 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 want better results than you’re currently getting from a generic, boilerplate 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.

Ideal Donors Are Hiding in Your Database

Uncover your hidden donors with the right planned giving marketing partner. 

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