The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Do not go quiet . . .

with 3 comments

I’ve written already about the challenges that organizational silos present to our ability to fundraise most effectively and, most of all, to be donor-centered. Another example is the issue of what Robert Sharpe calls the “quiet period” between the time the donor stops annual giving (and perhaps communication altogether) and the time of the donor’s death.  The idea is that communication is especially important during this final period of a donor’s life yet all too often this is the very time the annual fund or direct marketing team is either ending communication altogether, or, worse, sending pieces that represent the antithesis of the kind of messages we want to be sent.

Sometimes it’s lapsed donor mailings that ask “why haven’t you given in a while?”  Sometimes it’s putting a donor in an acquisition mail stream which means that the message donor receives is as if she has never heard of you before.  Sometimes it’s not mailing the donor at all, because judged by direct mail/annual fund metrics, mailing the donor is no longer cost-effective.

What to do about it?  Meet with your annual fund/direct marketing team to talk about these special donors and how they might be able to be treated differently.  And if the funds to continue to mail them, even just two or three top mailings a year, is outside the budget of the annual fund/dm team, maybe you can pay for it out of planned giving marketing funds.


P.S.  Back in 2007, Cathy Finney of MINDset direct wrote a piece on this subject that appeared in the Non-Profit Times Instant Fundraising online newsletter.  What Cathy wrote is still valid today.  You can read her article by clicking on the link.


Written by Phyllis Freedman

June 8, 2009 at 11:54 pm

3 Responses

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  1. This makes good sense. My question is — how do we know when a lapsed donor warrants these extra communications? Should we look at the number of gifts or length of time they were a donor before they lapsed? It seems that a donor who only gave once and then lapsed may not be worth it?

    Would love to hear others thoughts.

    Kathy Swayze

    June 9, 2009 at 9:05 am

    • Good question, Kathy. As a general rule, I would say that if a donor has warranted being included in your planned giving marketing, then that donor probably warrants making sure communication is appropriate, even if she lapses. I will be blogging in coming weeks about how to identify your best planned giving prospects.

      Phyllis Freedman

      June 9, 2009 at 9:48 am

  2. […] will, your organization would be remembered and making sure that donors who go into their “quiet period” were not forgotten.   Things are more complicated now.  Recent research has revealed new […]

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