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Should you use social media for planned giving marketing?

by: Allison Sanka on

Social media holds such a prominent light in our society today, it seems we should all be using it for marketing, whatever we're selling. But is it really an appropriate and effective marketing vehicle for the planned giving industry? 

We get asked this from time-to-time, and the short answer is not really. But please read on.

Our company's POV on social media for planned giving marketing is that it can be used sparingly, in very specific cases. For example, announcing and linking to an article about a large, generous planned gift that was featured in the press on Twitter or Facebook can help generate awareness of your planned giving program. Serving as an awareness-driver of your planned giving program in the wrapper of good news, this gentle promotion is appropriate context for planned giving on social media. Another idea is to use social media to introduce planned giving staff to your followers by linking from social media to an interview with your department staff on the organization’s website, telling about what they do, that ordinary people make planned gifts, and how important planned giving is to your organization’s future.

So why shouldn’t you put muscle behind a planned giving social media effort? First, the audience on social media is broad, and not just donors. Donors, volunteers, and beneficiaries of your services are the best planned giving prospects, and it’s most effective to target them directly. Second, donors are either planned givers or they aren’t. It’s not our job, nor is it interesting or effective to educate the general population about planned giving in the context of social media.

While there are a few opportunities where it makes sense to take up your organization’s social media manager on a tweet or post, crafting the message carefully is key to having it contribute towards your marketing goals. What it comes down to is that you will probably not be contacted about a planned gift because someone saw a post on Facebook or Twitter, so focusing your efforts elsewhere, particularly on direct marketing, is likely to bring in more qualified leads and gifts.

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