The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Archive for April 2010

Knowledge is power.

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Do you know your donors?  I don’t mean individually.  I’m asking whether you could articulate a profile of your supporters?  Not the statistics.  But rather the more conceptual information about your supporters.

According to Kevin MacDonell, who has been working in the field of prospect research for university advancement since 2005 and writes an informative blog called CoolData blog, “Thinking like an analyst is NOT memorizing numbers, NOT just geeking out at the computer. It’s about being aware, curious, and creative. It’s about being plugged into your institution’s real day-to-day operations and its interactions with the constituency it serves.”

In his most recent post, linked above, he gives an interesting example from a performing arts organization that illustrates how understanding your supporter base can inform decision-making about everything from planned giving marketing messages to selection criteria for your planned giving marketing.



Written by Phyllis Freedman

April 26, 2010 at 11:21 pm

The importance of impact.

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As if we needed another reminder, the Wall Street Journal reports on the increasing emphasis donors are placing on impact to drive their charitable choices.  The article notes the following reasons for the trend:

1.  Economic turmoil.  With less to give, donors are more focused on ensuring the impact of their gifts.

2.  Information availability.  The web has made it possible for donors to make more informed choices when selecting which organization or project to support.

3.  Growth in philanthropic advisors.  More high wealth donors are participating in programs or working with individual advisors to help them develop their own strategic funding plans.

I would add to this list, the rise of the Baby Boomer and the passing of the baton from the WWII and Silent Generation.  Whereas the latter trusted in institutions, Baby Boomers want proof.


P.S.  I’ve written about impact in a number of posts.  You can read a couple here, and here.

Written by Phyllis Freedman

April 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm

New & free: large gift reporting service

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Writing in his blog, The Agitator, this week, Tom Belford writes “On the eve of the AFP Conference, a new – and free – weekly service that alerts fundraisers to new, large and/or  “transformational” gifts was announced by NOZA – the company that scans the web and maintains the world’s largest database of charitable gifts.

NOZA’s Announced Gifts Alert is compiled weekly from the company’s daily scan of millions of web pages. Most of  contributions are of the seven-figure variety, but the editors also include smaller gifts if they deem them as “transformational” or newsworthy.”

Thanks, Tom, for letting those of us not fortunate enough to be at the AFP Conference know about this interesting new source of prospect research.


Written by Phyllis Freedman

April 13, 2010 at 11:21 pm

On being a donor advisor.

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Recently a client complained to me that his central planned giving office doesn’t help with closing gifts because they’re afraid to be seen as giving donors advice. Even with disclaimers to also consult with their own advisors.  He contends that donors need and want advice from trusted sources like the nonprofit they have supported for decades and the nonprofit’s representative, the gift planning officer they have come to know and trust.  By advise, he means things like helping a donor figure out which asset to use to fund a charitable gift annuity, as an example.

Opposition to providing advice flies in the face of the increasing tendency in the marketplace to build service, implementation and advisory components into the sale.  That’s according to Neil Rackham, interviewed in the TrustMatters blog.  Rackham introduced the notion of consultative selling in his book, SPIN Selling.  He says, “So instead of just buying a tangible stand-alone product, you are also buying advice and support.”

Trendwatching concurs.  In their latest trend briefing they refer to “Brand Butlers,” brands that have turned themselves into a service.  As Trendwatching puts it, “Jaded, time-poor, pragmatic consumers yearn for service and care . . “

This consultative approach doesn’t seem to me to be in conflict with PPP standards of ethical practice for gift planners.  So, what’s going on here?