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The Crescendo Blog

Read the Crescendo blog for the latest changes, ideas and trends impacting charitable gift planning and philanthropy. Our blog features a number of writers on topics that include planned gifts and major gifts marketing, technology, donor motivation, stewardship and giving trends. If you have comments about our articles, please share them on our blog pages.

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Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude

“Attitude of Gratitude” is a very familiar adage.  You may be asking yourself, “Where have I heard that phrase before?”  The answer probably is that you have heard this many times and in a variety of situations, likely from a motivational speaker, from your boss,...

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A Guide to Donor Surveys

A Guide to Donor Surveys

Have you ever wondered what you could do to connect better with your donors? Send them a survey! Surveys are a great way to engage with your donors and allow you the opportunity to enhance the connection between your donors and your organization.A well-crafted donor survey can help you learn about...

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Creating Compelling Donor Proposals for Major Gift Success

Creating Compelling Donor Proposals for Major Gift Success

Donor proposals may seem difficult to create, but when done well they make a compelling case for supporting your cause. You may think a proposal is unnecessary for encouraging your donors to make a major cash gift to your organization. However, cash gift donor proposals can create the opportunity...

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Why is a Marketing Funnel Important?

Why is a Marketing Funnel Important?

Creating web traffic plays an important part in marketing for planned gifts, but it is only just the beginning. A comprehensive marketing plan should include a ‘marketing funnel.’When I mention the term marketing funnel, I am talking about your back-end moves management process that is...

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Social Media Marketing for Planned Gifts

Social Media Marketing for Planned Gifts

It seems like every day a new social media platform is rising in popularity. As a marketer, keeping up with the new trends, platforms and potential content strategies can be tough. However, new and popular does not necessarily equate to the best strategy for planned gifts.Oftentimes, those who...

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A Beginner's Guide for Measuring Marketing Success

A Beginner's Guide for Measuring Marketing Success

In today’s media rich environment, setting goals and tracking marketing analytics is essential for progress and growth. Whether your nonprofit is in the early stages of developing a planned giving marketing plan or you have a thriving program, data-driven decisions and goal setting should be a...

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Optimizing Your Planned Giving Marketing Strategy

Optimizing Your Planned Giving Marketing Strategy

Learning to market for planned giving requires questioning our own experiences in order to better understand our donors. The focus of this blog is to help us take a step back and look at the landscape of our personal experiences. In doing so, we may find that our experiences and beliefs can cloud...

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How to Help Using Estate Planning Resources

How to Help Using Estate Planning Resources

Interest in estate planning has been on the rise since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Many donors have placed estate planning near the top of their to-do lists this year. Donors may be considering creating or updating plans.Your donors have a strong heart string attachment to the mission of your...

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Overcoming Challenges and Pursuing New Opportunities for Success

Overcoming Challenges and Pursuing New Opportunities for Success

In 2020, the world was faced with new challenges most organizations never imagined. As we move into a new year, many organizations may be wondering how to position themselves so that this year is better than the last. More specifically, many may ask how their organization can be better prepared to...

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Successful Marketing With Staff Transitions

Successful Marketing With Staff Transitions

Are your marketing efforts being impacted by staff turnover? Does your fundraising halt when someone leaves?It’s easy to understand that changes in staff can cause a serious disruption to your processes. When this occurs, it can disrupt ongoing marketing campaigns, fundraising events and...

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Breaking Down and Interpreting Email Analytics

Breaking Down and Interpreting Email Analytics

In 1998, we watched two email pals fall in love on the Upper West Side in the cozy romantic comedy "You've Got Mail.” In 2021, our inboxes continue to flood with love letters. Our emails, sadly, are not coming from Tom Hanks but rather from stores we shopped from, restaurants we visited,...

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Connecting With Donors Through a Legacy Society

Connecting With Donors Through a Legacy Society

Does your organization have a legacy society? If not, it is never too late to get one started! Creating a legacy society has benefits for your nonprofit and your donors. It offers a great opportunity to build a community, properly steward donors who have made a planned gift commitment and it creates...

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Planned Giving Literature: A Design Course

Planned Giving Literature: A Design Course

Effective planned giving literature combines images and art, color and copy, to show your supporters your important work and mission. Thoughtfully written and well-designed literature can be a great teaching tool for donors at all stages of the learning and planning process.Personal Planning...

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The Greatest Lesson Ever Learned

The Greatest Lesson Ever Learned

I was scrolling through my LinkedIn account one day, when a particular post caught my attention. The post recounted about a teacher who desired to teach one of his business classes a valuable lesson. It is quite a profound story, and it has stuck with me for some time. I initially tried to imagine...

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Start 2021 with a Strong Planned Gifts Marketing Plan

Start 2021 with a Strong Planned Gifts Marketing Plan

All of us can reflect on 2020 and develop new goals to help us continue to make progress in the new year. A great way to start is by creating a strong planned gifts marketing plan to increase your visibility. Here are some steps to help you get started:Marketing ApproachThe first step is to...

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Data Guides Decisions in Planned Giving

Data Guides Decisions in Planned Giving

In our industry we are constantly looking for ways to improve our donor outreach.  Often times, we hope technology will help us achieve those efforts.  Many of us have undoubtedly sent out a large email blast and viewed the open and click-through rates to help us to determine those donors...

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Building Fully Invested Champions with Three Simple Words

Building Fully Invested Champions with Three Simple Words

Obtaining larger donations will likely require more than direct marketing appeals. While direct marketing has an important place in your overall fundraising efforts, it is one of many steps within a more comprehensive ‘moves management strategy/marketing funnel’. Direct marketing is part...

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Why You Should Start or Restart Your Planned Giving Program in 2021

Why You Should Start or Restart Your Planned Giving Program in 2021

The New Year is upon us. It will be here before you know it, and with 2021 comes uncertainty for nonprofit fundraising fueled by all of the changes over the last year. COVID-19 and social-distancing measures will continue to impact how charities reach and motivate their donors to give in the coming...

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Motivating Your Donors to Make Planned & Major Gifts - Three Case Studies to Consider

Motivating Your Donors to Make Planned & Major Gifts - Three Case Studies to Consider

Have you wondered if there are better ways for you to motivate your donors and prospects?  What principles exist for motivating donors and prospects to close significant gifts – planned and major gifts?Motivating donors for gifting can seem a mystery that needs unraveling. Perhaps we...

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Four Tips on Leading an Effective Fundraising Team

Four Tips on Leading an Effective Fundraising Team

Leading a team of fundraisers is not an easy task.  Maybe you lead a team of gift planners, major gift officers or an entire nonprofit development team. When leading a team there are many things to consider. For example, understanding each individual has a unique personality, positioning...

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IRA Charitable Rollovers Remain Beneficial

IRA Charitable Rollovers Remain Beneficial

As the end of 2020 nears, now is an opportune time to remind donors that IRA charitable rollovers remain a great charitable gift. This blog post will highlight basic information on IRA charitable rollovers, the effects of recent law changes and how charities can continue to promote IRA charitable...

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Creating a Planned Gifts Email Marketing Message

Creating a Planned Gifts Email Marketing Message

Email marketing is an effective and cost-efficient way to communicate with prospective and current donors. Creating an effective email marketing message for planned gifts is a key place to get started. Here are some important elements to help improve your email communications.Engaging Subject...

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Five Tips to Launch Your Planned Gifts Marketing

Five Tips to Launch Your Planned Gifts Marketing

Have you been asked to launch or restart a planned gifts marketing program? Perhaps your charity received an unexpected bequest gift or donors have notified you that your organization has been included in their estate plans. Often these are the reasons nonprofits begin proactively marketing planned...

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We Are at Our Best When We Serve Others

We Are at Our Best When We Serve Others

As we approach the halfway point of fall and round the corner toward the colder days of winter, we may find ourselves more and more socially distant as early sunsets and chilly nights drive us into our homes.  The moments where we might have been able to share a six-foot-apart laugh with our...

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Utilizing Your Mission Beyond the Statement

Utilizing Your Mission Beyond the Statement

Staying connected with donors during these uncertain times can be challenging, but one thing that will always resonate with them is your organization’s mission. While your mission statement should be brief, direct and compelling, there are many ways that you can highlight your mission beyond...

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Positive Effects of Low AFRs on Planned Gifts

Positive Effects of Low AFRs on Planned Gifts

This year, the Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) has reached a historic low of 0.4%. The AFR is used in the IRS’ prescribed present value calculations to determine the charitable deductions for various types of planned gifts. It is sometimes referred to as the Sec. 7520 rate or the rate of the...

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Seven Tips to Improve Donor Communication

Seven Tips to Improve Donor Communication

Non-profit organizations in 2020 have been given the challenge to progress further into the digital space. It has been a time of quick and creative thinking for those working with donors. The primary need I wish to address is the idea of conversational communication within a digital setting. Keeping...

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Three Things to Focus on When Converting Website Traffic Into Leads

Three Things to Focus on When Converting Website Traffic Into Leads

Let’s face it, by now we are all aware that in today’s world the windows of opportunity to meet and connect with donors are limited. Maybe the days of getting together for coffee or joining an afternoon social activity will return, but for now we are limited. As I was doing my dishes...

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Rounding Out Your Year-End Campaign with a Donor Survey

Rounding Out Your Year-End Campaign with a Donor Survey

The end of the year is approaching, and many nonprofit organizations are ramping up their fundraising efforts by conducting comprehensive giving campaigns. This may include direct mail appeals, a series of mass emails, a few Facebook posts, a handful of virtual events and many phone calls to get...

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Helpful Tips When Receiving Restricted Gifts

Helpful Tips When Receiving Restricted Gifts

In uncertain times such as these, charities are grateful for all of the charitable gifts they receive. However, charities must be cognizant of the effects of receiving restricted or unrestricted gifts. This post will define restricted and unrestricted gifts, discuss what charities can do to avoid...

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