Planned Giving Trends to Watch this Year

New year, new trends.

Early on last year, we called out some 2018 planned giving marketing trends. And we’re back to do it again.

So, what’s in store for planned giving in 2019?

1. The Donor Journey

Image 2.pngThe idea of a journey is not new, but returning your focus to this simple methodology could be a game-changer.

The donor journey, similar to a buyer’s journey, has 3 primary stages. Here’s what your organization needs to know about each step of the way:

Stage 1: Awareness

Bring your donor’s attention to the problem and the need for a solution. Identify your organization (and planned giving) as a part of the solution.

Stage 2: Consideration

This step is donor-focused. Consideration begins when donors think they can make a difference. Now, they are asking themselves how they can make the biggest impact.

Stage 3: Decision

The donor has determined that your organization is best suited to solve the problem. They’re ready to team up with you and take the next step.

2. Content that Educates vs. Content that Converts

Image 1It’s tempting to only use content that converts. (We all want results!) However, different stages in the donor journey call for different kinds of messaging.

How do you know where your donors are at in their journey and what kind of content they need? Here are 3 cues:

1. Goals

Look at your personal and organizational goals.

If your goal is to establish planned giving benchmarks by the end of the year, an education-based program is the best way to accomplish this. (The planned giving message is relatively new to your audience and they’re in the awareness stage of their donor journey.) Whereas, if your goal is to document 15 gift intentions by the end of 2019, conversion messaging must be employed to discover these gifts.

2. List

Analyze your list.

If you have a list that’s new to planned giving, your donors are just beginning their journey. It’s time to educate them. On the other hand, if your list has been exposed to planned giving for years—it’s time for conversion.

3. Past Results

Understand where your brand has seen success in the past.

Is your organization so well-known and trusted that the awareness and consideration steps have already been covered? If your past programs revealed that targeted messages are what you and your donors need to really make a difference, then you need to continue to convert.

3. Know Your Donor Before You Ask

This is critical: You must know your donor before making the ask.

How do you get to know them? By building a better, more in-depth, donor profile.

You can do this by monitoring their interactions with your organization. Track any activity your donors have with your nonprofit via:

  • Direct mail
  • Survey
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Email
  • Downloads

Be sure that you are sending messages in the medium they respond to best. Provide information in a channel they’re comfortable digesting it in.

Determine which topics are engaging them most. Use this data to tailor content and send messages they’ve proven they care about.

The more you know about your list, the more conversion opportunities you will have. If you are able to segment (e.g. women, people over a certain age or donors with the potential to give real estate) you can craft a more meaningful and targeted conversion message.

But beware of the law of diminishing returns: The more you ask, the less they’ll do.

Searching for more fundraising trends? See what NonProfit PRO has to say about what’s trending. Do you have your own predictions? Share them in the comments, we want to hear them.

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