The Planned Giving Blogger

The art and science of planned giving.

Posts Tagged ‘Trendwatch

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?



Transparency triumph.

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“Think ‘transparency’ is an established, maturing theme? You ain’t seen nothing yet,” says the latest trend briefing from Trendwatch, which bills itself as an independent and opinionated consumer trends firm.  With transparency a crucial lever in fundraising, the briefing, “Transparency Triumph,”  is worth reading.  Gift planners can learn alot from the findings.

1. Review R(evolution).   Recommendations by personal acquaintances and opinions posted by consumers online are the most trusted forms of advertising globally.  A recent Nielsen survey shows that 90% of online consumers worldwide trust recommendations from people they know, while 70% trust consumer opinions posted online.  Do you know where and who is reviewing you online?  And not just Charity Navigator and the obvious review sites?  Do your gift planning web pages include donor testimonials and articles and testimonials from experts and professionals in the field?

2.  Reviewer trumps review.  The latest trend in online opinions is profiling reviewers so you can find an opinion from someone whose lifestyle mirrors yours, who thinks, lives, acts, and consumes like you, and whose reviews therefore have real relevance.  So, instead of examples that simply say Mrs. Jones, age 80, why not add a little more information about the donor.  It will increase the possibility that a reader will say “that’s alot like me.”


Written by Phyllis Freedman

October 5, 2009 at 11:42 pm