Marketing planned gifts: Part 1

By Todd Cohen

The Cleveland Orchestra pairs planned-giving donors as dinner companions with musicians whose chairs they endow.

The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati distributes print and email newsletters to planned-giving professionals and invites local residents wintering in Florida to a planned-giving seminar there.

And the Virginia-based American Diabetes Association closed two gift-annuity agreements totaling $130,000 in the first fiscal year after launching a planned-giving website.

With at least $41 trillion expected to pass between generations over the next 50 years, and at least $6 trillion of that expected to go to charity, a growing number of nonprofit organizations are turning to planned giving, and finding new ways to market it to donors, prospects and professional advisers.

Planned giving, once generally the focus of larger institutions and pursued with limited staff and strategies, has fueled an increasingly sophisticated, specialized and competitive industry, which also includes consultants and financial-services companies.

Effective marketing in that industry typically involves segmenting donors and delivering materials geared to their wealth, age and giving history, experts said, and focuses on targeting new prospects and cultivating existing donors, as well as building relationships with professional advisers.

“Getting the right message to the right person at the right time is the real focus of planned-giving marketing,” says Margaret Holman, president of Holman Consulting in New York City.

Other articles in the series:

Part 2: Charities tailor planned-giving message, medium.

Part 3: Fundraisers segment planned-giving prospects. 

Part 4: Charities mix multiple strategies to reach donors.
Part 5: Online strategies integrate donor data, marketing.
Part 6: Colleges, community foundations court planned-giving prospects.
Part 7: Charities use events to reach and engage donors, advisers.

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