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by: Claire Meyerhoff on

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See some great stories about wonderful people who make bequests and charities receiving planned gifts. Also, learn marketing tips, trends and more.

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Drexel Law receives $50M Gift, including "Large" Bequest

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Congratulations to our friends, former colleagues and current clients at Drexel University, Office of Gift Planning! Thomas R. Kline's $50 million donation is the largest single gift in the university's 123-year history. The donation includes a large bequest and a gift of real estate to house the Thomas R. Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy of the Kline School of Law.  We know gifts like these require a great amount of time and effort.  And are worth every moment and ounce!

We, as planned giving marketers, are always on the look-out for universal, tell-tale motivations of those who make planned gifts, so we can communicate effectively to all prospects, whether they may give $50 million or $50 thousand.  Both golden eggs; albeit one "ostrich" and one "goose".

Kline is quoted in the Philadelphia Business Journal, "The gift will allow Drexel to attract the best students and faculty and give the school a chance to distinguish itself in what has become a very competitive market."  Here he envisions a story of outcome.

Kline's mentor, also a renowned Philadelphia attorney, James Beasley, Sr., donated $20 million in 1998 to have Temple University rename its law school in his honor. "I was in awe of Jim Beasley and the fact that he made that donation, to his alma mater no less, and thought it was a wonderful tribute by the university to rename the school," Kline said. "So yes, it was in my mind."  Here he envisions himself in the story of example.

Also key to Kline's motivation is the view of trial advocacy as an under-served need.  When asked if the school thought about applying his donation to the construction of a new main law school facility, Kline noted that he wanted the 1200 Chestnut building to be dedicated toward trial advocacy. Here he responds to a story of need.

These are the stories that donors respond to...universally.  So that's how we craft our marketing pieces.

Kline began his career as a 6th grade school teacher in Hazleton, Pa.  He graduated from Albright College, earned a master's degree and a Ph.D. from Lehigh University and Duquesne University School of Law.  He even performed the one-man show "Trial as Theater" at the Wilma Theater. ...Lots of competition for our donor's attention. Yet Drexel University is the recipient of his planned gift.  

Because they understood the "Why" and then worked out the "How."Great work!

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Planned Giving Donor Stories: Add Something Special

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

Do you want to make your planned giving donor stories better?  Add a little something special. A great idea is to include a "Thank you note" from someone who has benefited from a gift. 

In this example from a Diocese of Colorado Springs planned giving news magazine,  the thank you note comes from a student who receives a scholarship directly from the donor. But it doesn't have to be such a literal connection.  Typically, any thank you note will do. We suggest you "edit down" the thank you note to make for a more attractive design.

EXTRA TIP:  The headline for this story isn't "Donor Story."  "Donor Story" is a category -- it's jargon that we in fundraising use as shorthand, like when you ask your co-worker, "Maybe Fran Smith would like to be featured in our next donor story." Please create a unique headline for your story.

EXTRA EXTRA TIP:  The word count for this story is just 180 words.  A good donor story isn't a biography or feature article about the donor's place in the community. It's just about WHY they care so much about what your organization does.

Editor's Note: Thank you to Don and Pat Cloud of Colorado Springs for their time and willingness to be featured in the 2014 edition of Planning Matters.

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Connect with PURLS

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

Are you trying to connect with your long-time, loyal donors to gauge their interest in making a bequest or better yet, encourage them to share some good news? One of the TOP GOALS of your planned giving marketing program should be to encourage "silent" bequest donors to tell you... 

YES! Your organization IS in my will!

PURLs are a great way to connect. Here's how:

  1. Your donor receives an engaging direct marketing piece in the mail, like the one featured here for Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
  2. Your donor also receives an e-mail.
  3. Donor sees their name as a personalized URL (PURL).  For instance, AnnBloom.LoveGR.org.
  4. Donor types their PURL into their browser or from the email, they click on the link with their PURL.
  5. Donor is led offered some attractive options for engagement.
  6. YOU receive valuable information about your donors and in most cases, NEWS about bequests you didn't know about!
For Grand Rapids Community Foundation, PGM designed a beautiful marketing campaign featuring the smiling photo and story of a promising young student, Jenny, who will one day make her community a better place. PGM also produced a companion Loyalty Newsletter.  

See it all HERE in the PGM Design Gallery

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Planned Giving Donor Stories

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

Love to write? Didn't think so.

But you have a donor who agreed to share her story (let's call her "Bunny") and now you have to write her story to put on your website. You have a couple of choices; hire the professionals at PGM or you write it yourself.  If you chose the latter, here are a few key points to keep in mind:

• Your main goal is to inspire others. Sharing Bunny's story will inspire others. They'll see themselves in Bunny and "feel" why giving to your org matters.

• You're showing that people JUST LIKE YOU make planned gifts.  

• You're showing that your organization is a trusted place -- Bunny has great confidence in the future of your organization.

• You're publicizing the idea that making a planned gift is a joyful, positive, savvy and special thing to do.  The mere fact that Bunny would SHARE her story and let you stick a photo of her on your website is a bit jazzy -- she's not hiding in her house, keeping her charitable estate plans a secret. 

• The WHY comes first and last. Why does Bunny CARE about your cause (that's not necessarily the same thing as caring about your org)? Somewhere in the middle, you may include WHY Bunny thinks planned gifts are important, like, "I want to make sure kids who struggle to pay for school can go to Yourtown College."

• The WHAT is one sentence, like "Bunny just did something great -- she updated her will and included a bequest to Yourtown College." That's it. This is an INSPIRATIONAL story to show that a person who makes a planned gift cares so much she'd so something as important and special as making a planned gift. 

• The WHO matters, but a planned giving donor story isn't a biography.  Who Bunny is has more to do with her connection to your organization.  Work Bunny's details into your inspirational story.  After her quote is where you can say, "said Bunny, who taught English at Springfield High School for 37 years."

• The HOW is a tiny detail you work into your inspirational story. You don't need details about how Bunny worked with her attorney and the development team.  If she says something like, "it just took a couple of phone calls," work that into your inspirational story.

Now it's time to interview Bunny and write that story!  Stay tuned to the PGM News Blog for helpful writing and interviewing tips!

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Planned Giving Marketing at NC Philanthropy Day

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

PGM President Jeff Stein at NC Philanthropy Day

It was great to see everyone in Durham, NC for Philanthropy Day on August 14. We met so many wonderful people from all over the Tarheel State.  Claire presented Coffee Time Planned Giving to a packed room and afterwards, one participant said "you really brought the sparkle."  

After the conference, Jeff enjoyed visiting the Durham Bulls stadiums -- the current, state-of-the-art stadium AND the original stadium featured in the classic Kevin Costner film. 

Thank you, North Carolina! 

PGM President Jeff Stein and Editorial Director Claire Meyerhoff at NC Philanthropy Day.

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Your Planned Giving Project Manager

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

We all wish we had a project manager to help with all our projects in life! When you work with Planned Giving Marketing, you'll be in good hands. Kelly Perotti was born to be a project manager.  This multi-tasker extraordinaire who says she gets great satisfaction from striking things off a to-do list.

At PGM's production center, Kelly takes your marketing project from start to finish with a sharp eye for detail. Clients say they love working with Kelly because she easily guides them through the production process with a style that's "focused and friendly." With keen proofreading and editing skills Kelly is known for taking the extra time to make sure a client's project is letter perfect -- and always on schedule.

When Kelly schedules in some time for fun, you can find her reading and reviewing books, attempting Pinterest projects and watching baseball.  She loves MLB, but her favorite team is her son's Little League team.  This mom of two boys is also the multi-tasker extraordinaire at home, a skill her husband says is "absolutely amazing."


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Planned Giving Branding

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

Does your planned giving program have an image? These days, it's called "branding," but often times an organization's "branding" is something your org spent a lot of money an effort to devise. So you're concerned with "tampering" with your organization's brand in order to bring some sort of personality to your planned giving program.

So then you have no brand. No image.

You may want to show your team this beautiful logo created for The Diocese of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Based on a vintage mosaic at a church, this logo is just gorgeous. When donors see it, it makes the Catholic Legacy Society instantly recognizable and reinforces tradition -- but in a fresh way.

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Planned Giving Ads

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

From the National Wildlife Federation Magazine.

Janice spends a lot of time planning her garden -- but not her estate!

Contact PGM if you'd like a custom advertisement. Click HERE.

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Thank You, Charleston, South Carolina!

by: Jeff Stein on

What a beautiful city with so many wonderful fundraisers! 

PGM's Editorial Director Claire Meyerhoff traveled to Charleston to present at AFP South Carolina Lowcountry chapter's breakfast meeting held at Porter-Gaud School. 

The topic? Coffee Time Planned Giving!  The majority of busy development professionals wear so many hats and feel like they don't have time to focus on planned giving.


The reality is that if you have just one hour a week for a little Coffee Time -- then you have time for Planned Giving.  Claire shared some of her savvy communications secrets, offered free content and even had some fun coffee-themed prizes. 

Charleston is a fantastic place to live and there are some fundraising jobs available there, so check out their website's job listings!  

See the AFP South Carolina Lowcountry Job Center HERE

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