The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Planned giving marketing: harnessing the power of persuasion

with 2 comments

I’ve always been a fan of making articles about gift types and gift planning simple to understand and follow.  That extends to the format as well as the content.  For example, I’m a big believer in using 1., 2., 3., steps along with this numbering format.  For example, when explaining how a gift annuity works.

And, I’m passionate about making sure our communications with donors include prominent and frequent “calls to action.”  That is, asking the donor to take a step and even telling the donor exactly what we want him or her to do.  For example, in Q & A articles and fact sheets, I often conclude with the question “What should I do next?” to put the donor on the path to taking the action we most want taken.

Now comes a research study published in Inside Influence, the website/blog of Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., who has made ethical persuasion his life’s study.  I’ve written about other of Dr. Cialdini’s findings previously.  The most recent article, entitled “Planning Persuasion,” describes a study that showed, conclusively,  ” . . .that simply hearing “Yes” from another person is just a starting point, rather than an ending point, for persuasion. To optimize the likelihood that others will follow through with their intentions, consider specifically asking them how they plan to go about accomplishing the goal they’ve promised to pursue. This doesn’t need to be done in a micro-managing or demanding way. Rather, you could ask about the details as they relate to whether or not there are specific aspects of the tasks with which you can help.”

For articles in newsletters, cover letters and other printed materials we send donors, we can suggest the steps to the donor, for example for how to include our organization in their estate plan.  In conversations, especially when a donor says that he or she is intending to or considering including us, a conversation about “how” the donor plans to do that might prove fruitful.



Written by Phyllis Freedman

June 22, 2010 at 11:56 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Phyllis,

    Glad you mentioned Dr. Cialdini and his work on ethical persuasion. I’ve shared his Executive Briefing on the Power of Persuasion many times with folks who are new to fundraising as a way to get them acclimated to the work they will be doing. The ones who have succeeded are the ones who incorporated his ideas and examples into their work habits.

    Thanks for another useful post.

    Bob King

    June 23, 2010 at 9:12 am

  2. Thanks for your comment, Bob. I had the good fortune of hearing Dr. Cialdini speak in person some years ago and his ideas have stayed with me. He gave away a credit card sized guide to his principles of ethical influence which I still keep in my wallet!


    Phyllis Freedman

    June 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm

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