The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Who to market bequests to: Part II.

with one comment

Previously I wrote about the abundance of new research that, for many, is complicating the question of who to market bequests to.

For most organizations, especially those with limited staff and even more limited marketing dollars to invest the answer is still the simple and intuitive.

(1) Donors who have longevity giving to your organization (in fact if you can’t afford to append age, longevity can often successfully serve as a proxy for age);

(2) Supporters who are giving, annually, above your average.  This indicates a high degree of affinity with your cause;

(3) Donors who still use the title of “Miss.”  That tells you right away that she of a certain age and childless;

(4) Those who volunteer and who have given annual gifts.  Even if they don’t meet your longevity criteria, the fact that they volunteer and give tells you something about their level of commitment; and

(5) DOnors with affinity information (cancer survivorship, for example, if you’re a cancer organization) on file and who also donate.  These donors are great prospects because they know first-hand the importance of your work and they have already signaled their willingness to contribute.

And, for these audiences, to the extent that you have the budget, I think you can mail the spectrum of ages, adjusting the floor and ceiling to achieve the number that can be mailed within your budget.

For organizations able to be more sophisticated in their approach, either because they have a large number of names or because they have the budget, there are analytical models available from companies like Blackbaud that may help identify your best prospects.  Also, the Stelter Company recommends an interesting approach to dividing your marketing budget between “Recruiting” younger donors, “Transitioning” middle aged donors into bequest givers, “Motivating” Silent Generation donors to make commitments and “Maintaining” relationships with current legacy donors.  Obviously, the percentage spent in each category would have to be tinkered with, based on your available dollars and your ability to wait for a return on investment.  And some consideration needs to be given to the group that needs convincing to create a will in the first place.  But, it strikes me as a good place to begin the conversation.

Anyone else have an approach to recommend?



Written by Phyllis Freedman

July 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm

One Response

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  1. One of the factors so often referenced as a predictor is “in bound communication” – have donors proactively called or written you to notify of a change of address, request information, or share an experience. If an organization’s database is integrated to record this, it can be a wonderful way to do some fine cutting and microsegmentation of a file for the purpose of marketing planned gifts or identifying those who have already made a commitment. Use all of the data at your disposal!

    Kristin McCurry

    July 8, 2009 at 9:13 am

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