How to Fine Tune Your Marketing for Relevance During Uncertain Times

When the world is hyper-focused on the present, how do you promote transformational, long-term giving?

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that the impact you’re making is more critical now than ever. Likely, part of the reason many charities will survive these trying times, is because of the foresight donors had years ago to make a planned gift with them in mind.

As we mentioned in an earlier blog, Marketing In the Time of Coronavirus, this is not a time to halt your planned giving marketing plans. It’s a time to ensure that your messaging, your mediums and your cadence are appropriate given the varying levels of anxiety donors may be experiencing.


Take a look at the language you’re using. Consider the mindset of your donor today. Before your messages go out, review them to ensure they are still right for your recipient’s mindset right now. Sending—and repeating—relevant content is key.

Repetition is one of the pillars of successful marketing. In fact, effective frequency is a term marketers use to define the number of times someone must hear a message for it to resonate. Different experts have different takes on this (especially given humans’ shortened attention spans and the rise of social media), but the most famous example is the “Rule of 7,” which implies a consumer must hear the message up to 7 times before taking action.

Whatever your philosophy and approach, thoughtfully carrying consistent themes throughout your appeals can result in wins for you and your prospects. Change the marketing channel, change the length, change the focus…it’s about your content finding the right person at the right time.
Just consider these content transformations:

Direct mail › email—How can you pull from your direct mail messaging to create cohesive email messaging?

Donor story › quotations—Are there quotes from that amazing donor story that would make a perfect soundbite to share elsewhere?

Long-form copy › infographics—Are there some tangible takeaways currently captured in long-form copy (e.g, a report) that could lend itself to an eye-catching infographic?

Annual giving impact story › planned giving impact story—With the ‘here and now’ being such a big focus, are there any annual giving impact stories that could be used to connect the dots for donors on the overall impact planned giving can have

Cover letter › email introduction—Was there an excellent cover letter shared with your constituents in the last month that you can modify to lead your next email outreach?


You may be wondering how to bring a new sense of relevance to some currently unconnected content. If you’re revisiting content right now, use these pointers:

  • Thank your donors. It’s an important time to help them realize how appreciated and critical their help is. Show them the impact their gift is having and/or can have.
  • Lead with timely stories of the impact of your mission. Now, more so than ever, the good work you’re doing, and the good work you have done, must be shared.
  • Go deeper. A second look at a piece sent earlier in the year might bring out nuances or help you refine the conversation.
  • Expand your appeal. One donor might be a visual learner who is impacted by infographics; another may prefer long-form storytelling. Attract both by repurposing your content in different ways.
    • Added benefit: Since planned gifts usually require the input of many stakeholders, repurposing can enhance the opportunity to convince more people involved in the decision-making process.


Your content deserves a second chance, especially in today’s climate. Your mission and messages of hope need to be shared now more than ever—that’s where repurposing comes in.
Donors are online more than ever, but they don’t always use the same digital channels. Connect with your donors where they are and optimize your content for each applicable medium. Repurposing offers more benefits than simply saving time.
There are benefits for your donors:

  • They receive consistent messaging. In an environment of 24/7 marketing, standing out means delivering a trusted message, particularly in today’s world. Trust comes through maintaining the storyline over time.
  • They are more likely to retain it. The impact your nonprofit is making in the world (and certainly the often technical approaches a donor might use to make a planned gift) will take more than a single touchpoint to drive action. Repetition aids recall. (Refer back to the “Rule of 7” mentioned above.) As we are all searching for a sense of community, we are also looking for content that speaks to us.

There are also benefits for you:

  • Save time. With most of us working from home, separately, time and resources are more precious than ever. Starting from a core piece is always faster than a blank screen. It can also refocus your fundraising team’s time from content creation to lead follow-ups.
  • Extend shelf life. Repurposing evergreen content—basic planned giving vehicle content for example—ensures that it can remain timely for years. Other than major tax or rate changes, planned giving vehicles remain valid and valuable.

Key to the repurposing content: Be pertinent and empathetic. It’s critical to frame your communication in a way that is appropriate for (and sensitive to) your audience’s perspective in the moment.

Donors may come to you with unique challenges and situations. They may also be thinking about the legacy they want to leave. This is an opportunity to relate to your donors on a more meaningful and compassionate level and do what you do best: Connect people with their philanthropic passions.

How have you used repurposing in your recent marketing appeals? Share your stories on optimizing content for today’s climate.

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