Carol Pollack from Planning and Endowment Consulting had a great idea to add to yesterday’s post.
Carol Pollack from Planning and Endowment Consulting had a great idea to add to yesterday’s post.
So you probably won’t see much of the fruits of your labor. And, years from now, someone else will probably get the credit for your hard work and smart strategic planning.
But we’re not bummed-out, are we? Even if the seeds you plant and have already planted might not benefit the organization you serve for 10 to 20 years (or more)… and even if you won’t get the credit for a good bit of your hard work… you and me… we love planned giving!
My hat goes off to everyone in the planned giving community every day.
Today Seth Godin writes, “Repetition increases the chance that you get heard.” And, he continues, “Delivering your message in different ways, over time, not only increases retention and impact, but it gives you the chance to describe what you’re doing from several angles. “This time Seth’s post DOES apply for planned giving marketing.
Recently a client told me they thought they should ONLY print and mail planned giving newsletters to people over 70 in their database a couple of times a year. No email. No Facebook. No telemarketing. No print ads in their magazine. No inserts with acknowledgements. No banner ads online. No letters. No posters at events. No brochures at Board Meetings.
Just newsletters. Only a couple of times a year.
Of course I advised against that strategy. Some of the smartest folks in the world agree with me.
Be like Seth. Be smart. Push your messages as repetitively as possible to as many people as possible (since anyone can leave a planned gift).
Seth Godin is pretty smart. He really understands marketing.
In his recent blog post he discusses why we should sometimes avoid “easy leads” and, rather, seek to qualify our leads more vigorously. But when it comes to planned giving marketing, I feel that what he’s talking about and what we’re doing are very different.
First let me point out that my firm used to be a bare-knuckle marketing “hired gun” for some of the toughest businesses in the Washington, DC region. Back then we were mostly doing hardcore lead generation. One of our clients was a home improvement company. For them, we had to find ways to find “highly qualified” leads. The cost of sending someone out to a home to quote on a job that averaged only $3,000-$10,000 was just too high. So, we tested adding questions to our surveys on landing pages. Then we arranged for telephone calls to follow up on every lead (to ensure that both decision-makers of the household were present before sending a sales rep out the door). Then just before the sales person left to go meet them, again we’d confirm that all the decision-makers would be present.
Now, for our marketing planned gifts, the “sale” is very different. We’re not selling a product but rather a life choice and a large investment. We’re aiming to help people align their legacy mission with that of the nonprofit we serve. So we need to widen the funnel a lot. Then we need to cultivate the relationships (possibly for many years) with financial/educational information, mission-oriented information and conversion-oriented options (to get folks to raise their hands) because:
1- You never know which ones of these leads are just tire-kickers and which ones will leave a gift. Some people might say they will not leave a gift only because they don’t want phone calls. They just want to be anonymous.
2- For most folks it’s a HUGE jump forward to request this information at all. By doing so they are moving from the avoidance stage to the consideration stage of a very long and emotional, non-measured (even erratic) decision-making process. Considering the fact that over 50% of Americans never create a will at all, the fact that they are requesting this information is simply tremendous. This point should not be overlooked and all of these leads should be treated like gold.
3- It takes time. Some people will act right away to make a legacy gift decision. But most people will skim the information an organization sends out in response to requests and soon put it all in a drawer. Hopefully it’s near their tax information or their legal stuff. But, yes… that’s right… it will probably sit in a drawer.
4- Here’s where the magic happens. When your organization takes the effort to remind these leads about the planned giving concept and seek ways to get them to educate themselves further about the benefits they would enjoy (for their soul and their pocket-book), something special happens. I know it’s time consuming and tedious. But the largest and most impactful gifts happen in the minds of your donors when you are not there. It’s a slow process. It requires frequency and repetition. It requires well-conceived messages. And it always must include easy ways for people to move to the next step in the consideration process. In planned giving marketing we must treat each lead as if it holds the potential for a $1 million gift. Cultivate a relationship with each one properly over time and, because it’s a numbers game, you WILL end up with boatloads of money for your organization.
5- Most importantly, this “sale” usually happens when no one from the organization is around. Simply stated, most folks don’t need to involve you and your staff in order to make this kind of gift/investment. That’s the hardest part to grasp but the critical reason why this “sale” is so different from what Seth Godin is talking about.
For more on the slow sale concept, read about the tortoise and the hare in planned giving marketing here.
I’ve been thinking about all the different philosophies that people have when it comes to planned giving marketing. There are so many out there that it’s hard to know who really knows their stuff. There’s no consensus. And, I can honestly say that there’s no “one-size-fits-all” strategy. Each organization has to determine what works for them.
But one think I know is true for sure. You simply can’t beat doing things right. So that’s what lead me to create this little graphic that compares the tortoise and the hare in planned giving marketing.
Which one are you?
Face it… you are not her friend. You don’t want to be her friend. And she doesn’t want you to be her friend.
Yes, you work for an organization that she may love because it empowers her. Your organization can do what she cannot do on her own. You can feed the poor for her. You can deliver clean drinking water to impoverished nations for her. Or you can cure a disease for her.
You help her to help others. She believes in your ability to do that. And that’s why she gives.
But she deserves your respect. Her name is Mildred. Not Millie!! Her friends call her Millie. And, although you work together to help others, you are not her friend.
She cares about several causes. And, if you annoy her, she’ll give to another organization. Perhaps even a competitor. Ah yes! Let’s not forget… there is competition in fundraising.
So, when you write to Mildred asking for money, you better get her name right. Because getting it wrong is downright disrespectful. But even worse, getting it wrong shows incompetence— which breeds distrust. And distrust is the beginning of the end of your relationship together.
We needed a display for our booth. We needed it quick. We got it on-time and it looked fabulous!
Then we got this nice, personalized, hand-written note. Do you think I’ll buy from them again? I highly recommend displayit.com.
What could you do to improve your thank you’s and increase donations or revenues?
And that’s a good thing because the more you give, the more dopamine gets released into your system. Dopamine is the chemical your body releases that makes you feel good and rewarded.
According to researchers at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “donating subjects displayed a marked increase in reward activation compared to the good feelings associated with receiving cash.”
Plus, the more personal the charity is to you, the greater amount of dopamine that gets released- meaning… more good feelings!
This is why text donations are skyrocketing. New technologies help us spread the word and donate faster. We want immediate satisfaction. Immediate rewards. So nowadays we can give faster and easier than ever more. And a special bonus is… the “drugs” are free.
How do you feel when you give?
When you boil it all down, there are really just 4 types of givers you need to understand for your fundraising efforts.
1- Impulse givers. Impulse givers don’t think about their donation very much. They may toss some spare change into a bucket. They may throw some coins into a fiddlers instrument case. Or they may write a check to a canvasser from the fire department as she goes door to door to raise money for new ladders.
2- Buyers. Buyers want something in return for their donation. That might be a dinner at a gala. Or it could be Girl Scout cookies.
3- Donors. Donors are more committed. They care about the charity. They may do some research to see where their money will go, to determine if the organization is sound, or to learn what results will be accomplished from their donation. But this can still be sort of an impulse decision.
4- Investors. Ahh. Investors are super-committed. They care deeply about the cause. They really want their money to make a difference. Investors tend to be committed frequent donors, major donors and planned giving donors.
Here’s a simple chart to help you see how they fit together. You’ll notice that the major deciding factor that determines whether or not someone has become an investor is their commitment level. Someone may love an organization (high affinity). But without a high level of commitment, they simply cannot become true investors.