Coaching for Planned Giving Fundraisers (PSA 9)
Coaching for Planned Giving Fundraisers and Development Directors
Practical Solution Announcement 9
JEFF: Hi everybody this is Jeff Stein, President of Planned Giving Marketing, here for a another installment of our PSA’s–our Practical Solution Announcements. And as always I’m joined by our friend and colleague, Greg Wilson. Greg is the Senior Major and Planned Gift Officer at Good Shepherd Rehab Center in Allentown Pennsylvania.
Today, I want to explain why the 15-year-old marketing plan—with prescriptive information about what month to do what type of gift—is maybe not such a bad idea. And it’s not because the author of that plan knows better, or guessed right, but a plan is a plan.
And if we’re having a conversation about consistency and the challenge is that a lot of organizations have in sticking with a plan, then the “CGA in the fall” and the “Bequest in January”—or whatever the rationale was—look there’s been a lot of research about when things happen. Typically holidays get people thinking about values. Tax time gets people thinking about reducing tax liability and there are other triggers that get people thinking about security and income.
That’s partially valid. I don’t think you can carry that through and have it apply to every donor, like the example you gave with your parents. But if you need a reason to believe in a plan, then maybe that’s not such a bad way of looking at it. It fosters consistency, if nothing else.
GREG: I would say on that part, any plan that’s above the functionality line is at is a good plan and better than no plan at all.
But the biggest part in my opinion of having a planned giving marketing vendor is somebody externally holding you accountable for the things that you know you need to do.
It’s why teams have coaches. Every player knows what they need to do. They know pretty much what defense to run in a play situation. By the time a person makes it to the NFL, for example, they are able to read what an offense is portraying fast enough that they know what sort of defense to run. They don’t need a coach to call it.
They need the coach to keep them accountable to be ready for the game. Did you eat right, do your exercise, watch enough film? It’s the external person who keeps on you doing what you need to do so that on game day, you can meet the play fast enough.
JEFF: That’s a great analogy. There are great books written on the difference between coaching and training. The training is what you do to prepare for the game. The coaching is the guidance you need to do it on your own. Every now and then the coach needs to tap you on the shoulder to remind you what you’ve learned.
As a planned giving marketing service provider, we’ve had to have coaching conversations. A lot of organizations wanted to completely retract their marketing. We’ll get them on the phone and say, “Hey, look, I understand your trepidation. But as a marketing coach, we need to get back to consistency because while you’re trying to figure out the perfect thing to say and the perfect time to say it, your donors are forgetting that you even exist.” As hard as that is for a lot of us to believe, we’re caught up in a lot of stuff right now. Without consistent marketing and consistency of communication, their attention will get focused on other priorities and other organizations that remain consistent. We’re not here necessarily to tell you what to do, but to remind you why you hired us in the first place, and why it’s important to hire a planned giving marketing service provider to coach you through these things so that your marketing does the job that you expected it to do—and the investment in the marketing pays off. The email that sits in the outbox and never gets sent is not working for you. That’s not marketing
The trays and trays of postcards and newsletters that are at a mail shop right now—that are not getting delivered to the post office because we’re afraid—that’s not helping with the marketing.
I talked to people throughout the industry. I talk to people who are fundraising. I talk to people who are all areas of marketing. There are mail shops and printing facilities with skids of material that are not getting sent out, because some of it is no longer applicable—but a lot of it is just sitting there out of fear. It’s just sitting there out of fear.
Consistency is key. If you’re not sure, call your marketing service provider. If you’re not getting advice, I invite you to call us.
At this point, if you’re not marketing consistently, do something to change that.
Invitational Marketing Works Better
Marketing isn't meant to educate. It's mean to inspire donors and invite them to make an impact. See how invitational messages help you discover untapped resources so you can reach a new level with your planned giving.
- Email Template One: Download, personalize, and send to donors.
- Email Template Two: Download, personalize, and send to donors.
- Article: What Makes Marketing a Planned Gift Effective?
- Mission Minded Marketing: An Immediate and Effective Communication Plan for Fundraisers
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