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Learning a Thing or Two from Generation Z

by: Jeffrey Stein on


Serial entrepreneur, international speaker, and soon-to-be published author, Andrew Rosenstein, popped into my office yesterday to show me the outline of his work in progress, "Understanding the Drive of a Rising Generation."  You probably have never heard of Andrew, but something tells me that might change in the not-too-distant future. 

I’ve known Andrew since he was a pre-school prankster wreaking havoc on playdates, and before I blinked, there he was, all grown up. Andrew (now 17) is emerging as a thought leader for Generation Z, the just-being-defined generation that follows the Millennials – the cohort that’s coming of age right now.

We didn’t have time to delve deep.  I was between meetings with our marketing team, and Andrew had a conference call with his editor.  “So Andrew, as a marketer, what’s the one thing I need to know about Gen Z?”

Andrew didn’t hesitate, “The BS filter is on!” He elaborated, “You know how your daughters are way into Snapchat and not into Facebook or Instagram?  It’s because you can’t edit Snaps.  Snapchat is real.  It’s fast.  No BS.  It’s Authentic.”  AHA!  It’s Authentic!  I get it!

He went on to explain what was happening under my roof and right before my eyes, but I was never able to wrap my head around.  Marketing and media messages are coming in fast and furious, and my teenage daughters’ schedules are jammed packed with school, work, social and recreational commitments.  Rarely are they sitting around taking in long form communications and when they do, one hand is on the remote fast forwarding through the commercials and the other is on the phone skipping through the unwanted garbage.  You want to get their attention?  Your point better be concise, compelling, and above all, AUTHENTIC.  It all made a little more sense.  (I stop short of saying complete sense because, after all, we’re talking about teenagers.)

So what do snapchat and teenagers have to do with marketing bequests and gift annuities for non-profits?  Actually, a lot more than meets the eye.  While Gen Z is an extreme example of how the immediacy of communication directly affects the urgency to process it and move on has put their BS meters on high alert.  This is the same technology and steady onslaught of marketing messages that is affecting older generations, albeit at a somewhat slower pace.  Grandma and grandpa may not be Snapping between bites at dinner, but they are consuming and digesting marketing and media at a much faster rate than ever before. 

What if you want to get the attention of your best planned giving prospects, in between all these other messages?  I’m not suggesting we start Snapchatting with them, but we can learn from Gen Z how to package and present the message to incorporate it into our own marketing communications:  Be concise.  Be compelling.  Be authentic.  The BS filter is on!


Five Things to Keep in Mind about Planned Giving During a Capital Campaign

by: Allison Sanka on

So many times during a capital campaign, planned giving marketing stalls or takes a backseat to the marketing for the campaign. The two should not affect or depend on each other. In fact, they should run in tandem. The main reason is that your capital campaign supporter and your planned giving donor usually aren’t the same segment of your donor file. The same way you wouldn’t stop your annual appeal during a capital campaign, you shouldn’t derail your planned giving marketing efforts either.

Here are five things to keep in mind about your planned giving marketing during a capital campaign:

  1. Planned gifts are the major gift of the rank-and-file donor. For donors who aren’t cash-rich enough to make a capital campaign or major gift, the capital campaign may be just the opportunity your more moderate-but-loyal donors are looking for. And because your PG donors usually aren’t the same as your capital campaign supporters, there should be little fear that planned gifts identified during a capital campaign will cannibalize the capital campaign’s goals.
  2. Planned giving happens on the donor’s time-frame, not the organization’s. Just because the organization’s big focus is the capital campaign, don’t lose sight that planned giving happens all the time, even during a capital campaign. The two may coincide unintentionally—and that can work to your benefit.
  3. Consistency and frequency is the key to success for any marketing campaign. Ensuring your message is in front of potential donors when they decide to make the gift is critical. Because you don’t know when that is, going silent for months could mean losing out on this opportunity. If you stop, then restart, you slow the momentum and efficacy of the campaign, and like will end up a few steps back from where you were. A consistent and frequent marketing campaign is always the best practice.
  4. Stopping planned giving marketing sends the wrong message to your donors. In addition to losing momentum, a lack of planned giving marketing messaging could imply that the program is not important to the organization.
  5. Capital Campaigns mean increased marketing budgets. It’s a great opportunity to tag along on bigger marketing initiatives, at little to no additional cost! Work with your development colleagues to ensure there is a planned giving option and messaging in all capital campaign media and public relations.

While planned gifts don’t technically count towards a capital campaign’s bottom line goal, fostering participation from a segment of your donor file who wouldn’t be able to participate in the capital campaign encourages those who want to make a planned gift to come forward during this time. They can feel part of the campaign to “give big” in a way they can, even if the dollars are deferred.

Including planned giving as part of the capital campaign marketing encourages philanthropy, which ultimately is the goal of all fundraising marketing. Including planned giving messaging during your capital campaign is a great way to drive awareness of your PG program, build your PG pipeline, and show the value of planned giving to the bottom line. It’s a win-win-win!

Claire's Coffee Time Quick Tip #1: Perk up your planned giving instantly!

by: Allison Sanka on

PGM's Editorial Director Claire Meyerhoff brings her "Coffee Time Planned Giving" presentation to AFP and other nonprofit groups around the country. She enjoys sharing her simple, fun and effective ideas for perking up your nonprofit's planned giving outreach and most her ideas will cost you absolutely nothing but a little time. Following is the first in a series of Quick Tips for your planned giving marketing campaigns. We hope you enjoy them and find them useful!

Allison Sanka (like the coffee)
Director of Marketing Operations

Claire's Coffee Time Quick Tip #1: Perk up your planned giving instantly!

This Quick Tip is something you — the busy fundraiser — can implement QUICKLY. Just pour a cup of coffee, read the tip, then do it! Right now, some of your favorite long-time donors have three charities in their will and yours is NOT one of them. That's because no one from your org has asked them in person, online or in print… 

Quick Tip — Grind up that OLD boilerplate bequest message and brew up something NEW!  

(Note:  this week's Quick Tip, our placeholder, fictitious charity is "General Hospital."  Paging Dr. Quartermaine!)

Old! You've seen it a million times, hunkered down at the bottom of a newsletter or anchoring a fundraising appeal. It's the boilerplate bequest message:

Remember General Hospital in your will.

It just sits there. At the end. Like death itself. 

Yes, it's better than nothing. Yes, you've done it this way for 37 years. But it's like saying "have a nice day," and doesn't engage your prospective bequest donor. What do you expect them to do after reading this? Run to their attorney? Call you? Did you tell them how to call you? Did you put your phone number there? Did you tell them why they should call you? Maybe. Maybe not.

New! The next time you're doing your newsletter, engage your donor with a question:

Is General Hospital in your will?

Right out of the gate, you're engaging your donor with a question and triggering a more lively thought process. "Is it in my wil? Really? Do I have a will?" People put the hospital in their will? " By begging a question, you're guiding the reader towards some kind of answer, and maybe the answer will be….

"Yes."

Yes! That's the answer you want the most! There are two types of your constituents who will read this question and think, "Yes," and both are fantastic. One is the bequest donor KNOWN to you — and your question prompts her to think "Yes! I have done that, I have my charitable act together!" It affirms her action. The other donor who thinks "yes" is the bequest donor who is UNKNOWN to you. So for him, he needs a little prompt to raise his hand:

Is General Hospital in your will?

If the hospital is in your will or other estate plans and you have yet to inform us, would you please take a moment and call me?  Even if you wish for your bequest to remain anonymous, it's important to let us know so that we can ensure your gift will be used exactly as you intend. We would also like to send you a thank you gift. If you're still making estate plans, I can provide you with all the information you need. 

Thank you!

Bobbie Spencer, Director of Development

555-123-4567 | Bspencer@GeneralHospital.orb

This example has all the "Call to action" you need. See how this also speaks to the "haven't done it yet crowd?" This one brief blurb packs a lot of planned giving punch. I've seen an organization take up a whole page in a newsletter to explain their entire planned giving program, and if any donors had bothered to read it, they wouldn't have known WHAT to do next.

Use the format I've given you here and you can place this boilerplate language in many of your existing communication platforms. 

• In a newsletter inside a nice graphic design treatment
• Annual report
• On a buck slip to include with appeals and other mailings
• House of worship  program 
• On your Facebook page (stay tuned for another Coffee Time tip to show you a great way to do this)
• On a postcard mailed to a group of top planned giving prospects
• In some communities, for certain organizations (hospitals, ASPCA and other "iconic" orgs) you may consider making this into an advertisement and buying ad space in a local paper or special-interest publication.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my easy way to perk up your planned giving! If you're a program coordinator for your local AFP or other group, I'd be happy to bring the entire Coffee Time Planned Giving presentation to your meeting or conference. Feel free to contact me by email to discuss dates.

Enjoy!
Claire

Are Baby Boomers' Estate Planning Behaviors Changing?

by: Allison Sanka on


While we are just beginning to see Boomers retire, this video suggests that many Baby Boomers may have spent, or plan to spend, a good chunk of what they would have given as an inheritance to their children. As mentioned in the video, Baby Boomers are spending their money while they're alive on retirement, healthcare and themselves, mostly out of need. The reality of longer lives and bigger expenses could mean there's less left to leave, or give, in their estate plans. 

There are always creative opportunities and solutions for planned gifts, even when the estate is limited. And of course, if you are seeing this trend emerging, PGM can address it in your direct marketing messaging.

Are you seeing this trend emerging, and what, if any are the implications for planned gifts?



Planned Giving’s ‘Magic Words’

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

Planned Giving’s ‘Magic Words’ 
Learn what they are and find out 3 great ways to use them. 

Are you a fundraiser tasked with creating planned giving marketing communications (letters, postcards, e-newsletter content, newsletter articles, etc.)?

Do you find yourself mired in phrases more mystically passive than magically engaging; phrases like “remember us in your will,” “leave a legacy,” or “consider a gift that may have tax benefits, too”?

Does the latest research about the word ‘bequest’ have you wringing your hands over a better way to say ‘what happens to your stuff when you die’?

Have you heard that somewhere out there that certain “key planned giving messages” will work? That often leads to you and your boss word-smithing a bequest letter into the bore-o-sphere only to spend a full year circulating around the office, being decorated with red circles, black lines and other “edit” marks. No magic words will ever get that letter in the mail…

If you’re looking for planned giving’s magic words, look no further-- you already know them! And as a fundraiser, you use them all the time. You’ve also said them to the waitresses who handed you a cool cocktail, that man who opened the door for you last week, and to your sweet Nana when you she gave you a $5 bill on your 8th birthday…

The Planned Giving Magic Words are…

Thank you.

Finding fresh new ways to say “thank you” is the fastest, clearest, and most authentic way to talk about planned giving with your donors – in person, in your communications, and your specific planned giving appeals.

1. The Magic Words in Person. Don’t know how to ask for a planned gift? Try a “thank you” ask. Thank a donor for his consistent gifts of $25 a year for 25 years. Mention that another donor has given the same amount/number of years is also leaving a charitable bequest to your org. Then say nothing, and see what the donor says. You may be surprised to hear that your org IS IN HIS WILL (but he’s just never told you) or he’s been thinking of updating his plans and hadn’t considered a charity – but he might.

2. The Magic Words in Your Newsletter. Have you been saying “Remember us in your will” in your newsletter for years with no results? Instead, try featuring a photo of the lovely Kathleen, a donor who named your org in her will (even if it was years ago). All you need is a “Thank You, Kathleen” headline and a few short words about Kathleen’s future gift. This simple “thank you” communicates all the key planned giving messages (the real ones!). It shows prospective donors that naming a charity in a will is NORMAL, that your organization values and appreciates this type of gift, and that when people include your org in their will, they share the news and that’s a good thing. Always include a line like, “even if you wish for your gift to remain anonymous, please inform us of your gift.”  No fancy words are necessary because Kathleen’s photo says more than any carefully chosen copy.

3. The Magic Words in Your Planned Giving Appeal. If you truly want more prospects, ditch the “appeal” and instead, say thank you.  And don’t just SAY thank you, also offer a sincere and tangible “thank you” in the form of a gift to uncover your best planned giving prospects and silent donors who have yet to inform you that your org is in their will.

For example, the Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF), a national organization based in Bozeman, Montana, mailed a Valentine’s Day postcard to 2,525 longtime, loyal donors. This card simply thanked donors for their support over the years and offered a free gift just for visiting a personalized URL (PURL). Upon arriving on their personalized landing page, the donors were asked one question about charitable estate planning before clicking through to receive their gift.

The response was overwhelming. The results are this: more than 190 people who care deeply about preserving Yellowstone Park self-identified as donors indicated they would be interested in making a charitable bequest or other planned gift. Also, with this simple yet effective direct and email campaign, YPF learned of 13 NEW planned gifts. In addition this mailing was also a nice stewardship piece for the client. A typical planned giving marketing appeal may yield an OVERALL response rate (any type of response) of just 3-10%. This YPF “thank you gift” appeal achieved an overall response rate of 33.87% which is astounding in planned giving marketing.

(Learn more about this campaign HERE.)

A few key things to understand about this particular mailing: the card did NOT MENTION planned giving, it did not ask the donor to “consider” anything or offer “more information” about planned giving. The card was sent from the Old Faithful Society (YPF’s legacy society) with the logo and tagline, but other than that had no typical hallmarks of a planned giving mailing.

What this means for you and your organization:

There is so much magic in the two words “thank you” that if you focus on new ways to use them, you will surely secure some very large future gifts for your organization. How large? A Blackbaud study shows the average planned gift in the United States is between $35,000 and $70,000, but if you follow the world of planned giving like I do, you’d routinely hear of  $100,000, $250,000, $500,000 bequests and higher – mainly from everyday people like retired teachers, nurses, firemen.

In our fundraising world, we hear a lot about “donor engagement strategies,” and there is no clearer strategy than the simple “thank you.” 

The “thank you” is effective in many forms of nonprofit marketing because it affirms and validates a donor’s intention – and it’s just plain good manners. Surveys show that many donors don’t feel like they’ve been adequately thanked, so basing a marketing effort on a “thank you” also helps you with your stewardship efforts.

If the real, true goal of your planned giving outreach, engagement, and marketing is to identify prospects, try ditching the tired “planned giving talk” and focus on how you can do more with those two magic words everyone loves to hear…

Thank you.

What Works in Planned Giving Marketing?

by: Claire Meyerhoff on

What Works in Planned Giving Marketing?


 

That's a question we hear every single day here at PGM! What "works" for one organization can be entirely different for another. All nonprofits are different -- and more importantly, so are their donors.

 

But there are some common goals. The organizations we work with all want two things:


1. They want more donors to ‘raise their hand’ and say "YES, I'm including a gift in my will to your organization!"

2. They want more top-tier prospects. These are prospective planned giving donors who are identified as more likely to consider making a deferred gift to your organization and would be open to a conversation or other engagement to move them closer to making the deferred gift.

 

A good planned giving marketing campaign is an authentic, natural extension of your stewardship. Way too often, nonprofits send donors planned giving information that seems completely disconnected from the usual donor communications. The donor is left wondering, “Why is the Springfield Animal Rescue sending me a brochure about something called a “unitrust?”

 

So...what does work? Here’s one thing that works:

 

Reaching and engaging your donor with a compelling offer.

 

Check out this great example of how PGM recently helped one organization identify more planned donors and top-tier prospects...

 

In February, 2,500 personalized mailings arrived in donors mailboxes. These donors were a select segment identified by our client organization. It featured a Valentine’s Day theme and two very important and very simple words--

 

THANK YOU.

 

The personalized postcard was, first and foremost a stewardship piece. Time and time again the research tells us donors don't feel that they're thanked enough-- or in the right way.

 

Because we utilized a personalized strategy, the card thanked the donor by name and then did something quite extraordinary. It asked the donor for...nothing. That's right -- nothing. It didn't ask the donor if the org is in his estate plans, or to consider a planned gift, and it didn't ask the donor if she'd like an estate planning guide or more information.

 

Instead, this card OFFERED a free gift to the donor, simply for being a supporter of the organization. All the recipient had to do to receive their gift was to visit their personalized landing page (also known as a PURL or Personalized URL).

 

There's much more to say about this mailing, like the creative concept, back end logistics, the personalized landing page content and the strategic questions posed to respondents. But you'd probably rather get right to the good stuff and see the results. After all, you want to hear about a planned giving marketing strategy that works, right?!

 

Here are the results:

 

2,524 donors around the country received this personalized mailing. Within one week, we'd heard from 127 donors. One week later, all the "non-responders" received a follow-up email. That very same day, another 153 donors responded. Within two weeks, an additional 221 donors responded.

 

Now, here's the good stuff:

A whopping 33.8% of the 2,524 prospects visited their personalized landing page. 

Right away, this organization learned of TWENTY new planned gifts. 

Right away, this organization had 120 top-tier leads. These were donors who, once they arrived at their personalized landing page, indicated they were interested in a specific planned gift and/or an information kit.

 

The key "What works" takeaways:

A good planned giving marketing campaign is about PROSPECTING. How can you get highly-involved donors to engage a bit more? Some are calling this "engagement marketing", but shouldn't ALL marketing be engaging? We think so and we have the outcome to prove it – and the ROI the client was looking for.

 

Would you like to see exactly what PGM did for this client?  Contact PGM President Jeff Stein at jeff@pgmarketing or 484-680-7600 and he'll tell you more.

 

Thank you!











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