The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Planned giving marketing to Boomers: shifting from success to significance

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about generosity as a new status marker.  Now, Matt Thornhill, who pens the Engage:  Boomers blog, writes about Worthwhile Wines, a “triple bottom line business (profits, people, planet)” as evidence of what we can expect from Boomers.  His advice reinforces the idea of generosity as a motivator.

He notes that “Typically, around age 50 we see a shift away from “success” and more towards “significance” as an underlying behavioral motivation. David Wolfe, author of Ageless Marketing, points out that such a shift isn’t a generational thing, it’s a developmental thing. Reach age 50 and beyond, and one’s motivation for many decisions in life shifts.”

He goes on to say “Combining rational marketing value (price and quality) with human, emotional values is why we think companies like Worthwhile Wines will succeed. Boomers will vote with their wallets, which are now attached to their heartstrings.”

Good advice for gift planners: stop talking about tax savings and the technical aspects of gifts.  Instead, combine the emotional appeal of your mission with the impact the donor’s gift can make and you will have a winning formula.



Trendwatching: what’s new in the “statusphere”

with one comment‘s new briefing asserts that though “. . . the need for recognition and status is at the heart of every consumer trend,” what’s different, they say, is that “an increasing number of consumers are no longer (solely) obsessed with owning or experiencing the most and/or the most expensive.”

Their definition:  “STATUSPHERE | As consumers are starting to recognize and respect fellow consumers who stray off the beaten consuming-more-than-thou-path, ‘new’ status can be about acquired skills, about eco-credentials, about generosity, about connectivity.”

“GENERATION G (generosity) captures the growing importance of ‘generosity’ as a leading societal and business mindset. As consumers are disgusted with greed and its current dire consequences for the economy—and while that same upheaval has them longing more than ever for institutions that care—the need for more generosity beautifully coincides with the ongoing (and pre-recession) emergence of an online-fuelled culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers.”

Now, one of the most important drivers behind GENEROSITY is the collaborative/free/creation/crowdsourced/gift/sharing movement that—especially online—has unlocked in entirely new ways the perennial need of individuals to feel part of the greater good, to contribute, to help. But the online world of course also makes it easy to showcase and share one’s acts of altruism.

The status-implications for non-profit organizations, and B2C brands big on giving initiatives?  Work harder on helping your consumer-donors show and tell others about their donations and contributions!”


Written by Phyllis Freedman

June 1, 2010 at 11:52 pm

21st century donor engagement.

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Leave it to Starbucks to teach us yet again about creating an exceptional customer brand experience.  Their Passion Panel is an interesting model for what engagement could look like for today’s gift planning donors especially Baby Boomers.  When we want to offer donors the opportunity to deepen their engagement with us, a key component of both exceptional fundraising results and good stewardship, why not offer a innovative online engagement program?


The baton has been passed.

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I’m prepared to go on record today as announcing that the baton has officially passed from our elders to the silent generation and, more emphatically, to the Boomers.  Look no further than yesterday’s post about Leisure World and then this recent NY Times article, “Boozy, Bawdy Reality TV, With a Few Wrinkles” if you need any further evidence.  That bulge in the pipeline we’ve been talking about for six decades has finally arrived at the doorstep of gift planning.  It may be that we’re still going to have two wait two decades or longer for their gifts to mature, but pay attention we must.


Written by Phyllis Freedman

May 4, 2010 at 11:57 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

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?


Counting planned gifts.

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Jim Roehm, of The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, posted a comment last week asking for examples of  “real-world experience in the best practices of counting planned gifts during comprehensive campaigns.”  So, to gather some examples for Jim, I posted a query to the gift-pl list-serve of the PPP.

As always with the gift-pl list-serve, colleagues across the country were generous with their insights and experience.  Before I share their examples, I do want to cite two formal resources for policies on counting gifts that were suggested: chapter eleven in “The Art of Planned Giving” by Doug White and the PPP Counting Guidelines

Now to the real-world feedback.  I kicked off the discussion by describing the Campaign for Texas, underway at the University of Texas at Austin.  Jeff Glosser graciously shared their policy:  “All gifts from donors are counted to the Campaign for Texas. This includes all revocable planned gifts made during the campaign period. We will disclose the value of revocable planned gifts for donors that have reached the age of 60 by August 31, 2014 (the end of the campaign) in our summary campaign reports.  We will use market value to report the total of revocable planned gifts to the campaign.”

From the gift pl list-serve there was back and forth about what is meant by “counting” especially with respect to revocable gifts.  The consensus:  revocable gifts can be counted for purposes of describing the campaign’s success but those same gifts are not routinely counted for accounting purposes.

A number of practitioners weighed in with specific examples.  I’ve summarized them as Counting Gifts Examples.

Thanks to Jim for posing the question and kudos to everyone who responded.  I love the fact that we’re all trying to advance our profession by sharing knowledge so readily.


P.S.  The gift-pl list-serve is another great benefit of PPP membership.