New Year... New Ideas
As we turn the page on another unique and interesting year, we tend to ask ourselves a similar question. “What’s next?” What are we going to do this year that we didn’t do last year? How do we grow and mature? It is natural and beneficial to review and remember your successes of the previous year. What worked and why? How can you take what worked and apply it moving forward? However, it’s also important to remember that it’s a new year with new goals. You can carry over the knowledge and experience you gained from closing gifts in 2021, but you can’t carry over the gift itself. A baseball player can hit 50 home runs in 2021, but that’s not going to help their team win the World Series in 2022. So the question remains, how do we have a stronger year than the year before?
As a nonprofit, growing your donor base will always be important when trying to take your organization to the next level. However, when it comes to existing donors, if you can provide new and innovative ways to engage, educate and empower your donors to make the ultimate gift, that will be most crucial in taking your nonprofit to the next level. Developing an existing donor is just as valuable, if not more, than gaining a new donor. That’s why I love planned giving so much. It’s all about bringing new ideas to the table, sparking interest and meeting your donors’ needs.
No nonprofit is the same — big, small, local, national and everything in between. Every nonprofit is at a different stage of their fundraising and needs a unique platform to lay out a plan for the coming year. What you can do is lay out a formula, a series of questions to help you identify if a new and innovative concept is worth exploring for your organization. What I propose is every nonprofit ask themselves if their new ideas fall under one or more of these insights.
1. Start With Bequests and IRA Rollovers
If you are new to planned giving or getting your planned giving efforts revamped, start slow. Focus on bequests and IRA rollovers. They are the two easiest gifts to market and facilitate. Offer tools like a Wills Guide easily allowing your donor to include you in their Will, or add widgets to your website that allows your donors to directly connect with their IRA custodian, or even provide forms that allow you (the nonprofit) and your donor’s financial advisor to see what kind of gift your donor intends to make. Use your website to clearly explain how different gifts work. If you are expecting to take your planned giving efforts to the next level this year, maybe consider a CGA program. Provide your donors with examples of what their CGA would look like. Show them what their annual income might be. Explain the benefits. Donor proposals are very effective. Lastly, make it easy for your donor to connect with you. Important conversations need to be had in order for gifts to be made. Its imperative you make yourself available to them.
2. Attractive Ways to Reach Your Donors
Does your new idea or strategy attract attention? How are you going to spark interest in your donor? How does your new idea benefit the donor? Another reason I love planned giving so much is because I look at planned giving as a big puzzle. As a gift officer you have a variety of different solutions that can help your donor give generously; it’s just a matter of finding the right solution for the right donor. Show your donors that you have an answer to their problem. That will attract attention. What can you offer your donors that no one else can?
3. Connect With Your Donors
Donors are greatly affected by their peers and influencers. Is your new idea or strategy in line with the social norm? Can you provide donor stories or examples? We live in a world where the word influencer has taken new shape. Did you know that even small or “micro-influencers” can generate anywhere from $40,000 to 100,000 dollars per year? But why? Because companies know that their customers are affected by their influencers and will pay these influencers to share their product. An influencer can have the same effect on a nonprofit.
4. The Time is Now
Does your new idea or plan fall in line with the calendar? Does it fall in line with your donors? Are you marketing your new ideas to the right audience at the right time? If you are relatively new to planned giving and planning to take the next step, I suggest starting a GCA program. The boomer generation is just starting to hit the sweet spot for CGAs, 79. Now just might be the right time to start offering CGAs. When doing an IRA campaign, you might consider lining up your marketing efforts with the tax season. When appealing to a donor it’s important to know where they are in their life. Are they married, are they buying or selling a house, when are they retiring, when is their spouse retiring? All play a huge roll in how they gift. This is just another reminder that we need to steward donors and develop relationships with them or else we won’t know when or how to help. Another wonderful thing about planned giving is it allows the donor to give at a time that works best for them. Remind your donors about the current benefits they can receive even if the gift is made later on.
With these marketing ideas, you can make it easier for your donor see the value in these gift models. That’s the same as making it better.
By Steven Walker
Integrated Marketing- Central Region, Crescendo Interactive, Inc.
January 20, 2022 8:32 AM PT
Thank you for your advice and for getting us all off to a good start in 2022. Monica