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5 Steps for an Effective Planned Giving Marketing Plan

Samantha Hunter
Published:  06/22/2021
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Photo by Kvalifik on Unsplash

There are an endless list of tactics to market a planned giving program. You can use brochures, direct mail, phone calls, email, or social media posts to name a few. But throwing spaghetti at the wall doesn’t necessarily mean you are really reaching the right audience. And if there isn’t a clear consistent strategy, you probably aren’t seeing the results you are looking for. 

A successful marketing plan consists of steps that allow you to achieve both short-term and long-term goals. Planned gifts are generally perceived as taking a long time, but with a good planned giving marketing plan, you can set your organization up for success and accelerate gift income.

Here are five steps to create a planned giving marketing plan: 

Step 1: Identify and segment planned giving donors 

First, you want to identify your audience and then segment them into categories. You only want to be talking to donors or prospective donors that are ready to be having a planned giving conversation. This can be done with demographic data like age or through annual giving history. 

Once you’ve identified your audience, it’s important to make sure you segment them based on the audience they fall into so you can craft a specific message for that group that will resonate. 

Step 2: Develop a clear purpose of the outreach

You want to make sure you are using clear and consistent messaging throughout your campaign. This goes back to the importance of segmenting and understanding your audience. You want to set a goal for your communications and stick to it. 

But make sure you don’t include too many requests. If there are multiple calls to action, you are less likely to get a response or to have the person engage. And it doesn’t always have to be a direct ask for a donation. The goal of your campaign could be to educate donors on a topic like making a gift in their will.  

Step 3: Create a donor-centered message 

For messaging to truly resonate, you need to look at the total donor relationship and find what has made them want to give to your organization in the past. Are they passionate about your hospital? Or do they engage in specific work you do that’s tied to your mission? Maybe they always give during a Doctor’s Day campaign or a Nurses Week appeal. The more you know about the person and the more you include that in your outreach to them, the better engagement you will see. 

Step 4: Choose the appropriate medium

For this you’ll need access to data or have the time to conduct some desk research, but this is an important step. You really need to understand your audience and where to reach them. If you are using Twitter as a main tactic in your campaign, but your target audience doesn’t use Twitter, then you can’t expect any ROI. 

Take the time to look at planned gifts your organization has already received, and evaluate what tactics were used that were successful. Even if it’s a new person you’re targeting, if their demographic data matches someone from your existing audience, there’s a strong likelihood the same marketing tactics will resonate with them as well. 

Step 5: Use multi-channel messaging 

Repetition is important and essential in the learning process. The same goes for a marketing campaign. You want to have multiple complimenting impressions happening throughout your campaign, ideally across different channels. 

Remember, your donors are busy and are engaging with multiple other organizations for a variety of different reasons. While repeating the same message and using the same imagery might sound elementary, advertisers do it all the time because it works. 

For more on this topic, check out this webinar on developing a planned giving marketing plan that will help you increase gift income and improve your overall program performance.
NEWS  /04/12/21
How donor personas can help you find and connect with your audience.
NEWS  /04/27/21
Five proven email marketing tactics to better engage with your donors.
NEWS  /08/21/19
The implementation of best practices starts long before you are sitting across the table from a prospective donor, before you begin wealth screenings and before you plan events.

Meet The Author

Sam Hunter headshot
Samantha Hunter
Association for Healthcare Philanthropy

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