affinity blog

Incorporating a planned giving marketing strategy can ensure your nonprofit receives the major gifts it needs to achieve its goals. Through a combination of accurate donor research and a well-defined marketing plan, you’ll be better positioned to connect with dedicated planned gift givers, also known as legacy donors.

An important element of any planned giving marketing strategy is utilizing accurate wealth screenings to identify your top prospects. This is one way that iWave can help you put together a successful planned giving marketing campaign.

We provide personalized onboarding and unlimited support to help you make the most of our nonprofit fundraising solutions. Discover how we can help you market your planned giving program by scheduling a free demo or assessment today!

What Is Planned Giving?

Planned giving, commonly referred to as legacy giving, allows philanthropic donors to make a donation for an unspecified later date, after they have passed on. It is part of the donor’s financial or estate plan rather than their discretionary income. Along with that, planned gifts can be made while a donor is alive or at the time of their passing.

These high-impact gifts can make a monumental difference when it comes to the overall success of your organization,  so be sure to prioritize these donors accordingly. 

Planned Giving Marketing Basics

The best place to start when initiating a planned giving marketing campaign is your current marketing strategy. Rather than reinventing the wheel right away, the most efficient way to get the word out about your planned giving marketing program is to take advantage of the channels you’re already using.

By incorporating a simple, to-the-point paragraph about planned giving opportunities throughout your marketing materials, you can plant the idea into the minds of current and prospective donors. Marketing channels your organization already uses, such as emails, newsletters, donation pages, fundraising events, and annual reports, are the ideal places to integrate your new planned giving blurb.

Set Clear Intentions

Once you’ve started a buzz by increasing the visibility of your planned giving program through other channels, the next step is to focus on creating your specific marketing campaign. When developing the marketing strategy for your planned giving program, you’ll first want to consider the following to help guide you forward:

  • What type of marketing material you want to create and distribute.
  • The key demographics for your marketing materials.
  • When you want to distribute planned giving program information.

Prospect research is invaluable when determining who you want to target with your planned giving marketing strategy. With iWave’s fully customizable platform, you’ll have access to insights like giving indicators that will help you identify your top planned giving prospects.

In turn, this will enable you to direct your efforts to the donors most likely to join your planned giving program. With accurate donor data at your disposal, you’ll better ensure no money is left on the table. Furthermore, wealth indicators and biographical data can help you personalize your planned giving marketing efforts.

Budget and Plan

Let your budget guide you when deciding how to promote your planned giving program. Both online and print materials can be highly effective, although printed content will cost more in general.

Along with this, you’ll want to develop a marketing calendar that spaces out communications regarding your planned giving program, so as not to overwhelm your donor prospects.

Put it in a Brochure

If resources allow, a printed or virtual brochure is an excellent way to inform prospects about this opportunity. A brochure can be distributed in the community or mailed directly to your prospects. When creating an educational brochure for your planned giving program, you’ll want to include things like:

  1. The definition of a planned gift, as well as definitions for different types of planned giving to your organization, such as a bequest.
  2. The detailed, transparent step-by-step process of how planned gifts are used by your nonprofit to instill greater confidence in donors.
  3. Quotes and testimonials from donors who have committed to a planned gift in the future or from their family members (if the donor has already passed away).
  4. Planned giving program membership benefits that may further entice prospective legacy gift givers in the present.

If you have the necessary resources, eventually you may want to create individual brochures for each planned giving option available at your organization. That way donor prospects can dive deeper into the type of planned gift that applies to their specific situation.

Even if you only have the means to create a catch-all planned giving brochure, you still have options and flexibility in how you communicate pertinent information. Depending on your nonprofit’s donor base, prospects may prefer a printed brochure, a PDF version, or both. Identifying this can help you connect with your top prospects via their preferred methods of communication.

Building and Maintaining Your Brand

To maximize the success of your planned giving marketing strategy, it’s also important to maintain a consistent brand message across all your communications. In particular, the portion of your brand centered around your planned giving program should present a compelling answer to the why behind making a planned gift to your organization.

For most donors, choosing to participate in a planned giving program is grounded in the legacy they want to leave behind. Therefore, focusing your marketing strategy on this emotional experience will reach your target donors at a deeper level.

Logos and Mottos

If you don’t already have one, consider creating a specific planned giving program logo to incorporate across your marketing materials. In addition, craft a motto or phrase that embodies the importance and value of planned giving to your organization.

Key Components

Make sure the words you choose put the donor front and center, positioning them as a pilar of your nonprofit. Along with this, you’ll also want to highlight things like the:

  • Ways planned gifts enable your nonprofit to realize its mission year after year.
  • Testimonials, quotes, interviews, or video content of current program members.
  • Exclusive perks, such as merchandise or a voice in the decision-making process.

Getting as specific as possible with details like these only serves to make your planned giving program more attractive and appealing to your prospects. Consistently bring the focus back to the lasting impact a planned gift has with examples of what your nonprofit will be able to accomplish.

Not only does this provide the prospective donor with a long-range vision; it also helps them connect with the legacy they leave behind that will continue after they are gone.

Emotional Language

With the many legalities involved in planned giving, you’ll also need to include definitions in some of your content to help prospects better understand the program. However, the foundation of your planned giving brand and marketing strategy should be your nonprofit’s mission, as well as the legacy of your donors.

  • The Power of “You”

Try using the second person and addressing your material to “you” instead of “he or she” to position the prospects reading the material as the main character of the story. Speaking from the heart serves to foster an emotional connection before going into details related to taxes and financial planning that accompany a planned gift.

  • Make the Donor the Hero

Remember, your planned giving marketing materials and methods will have a much greater impact if they are rooted in your cause. So, be sure to make this the center of your planned giving program to turn prospects into major-gift givers. Show them the exact power of their support!

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the passing of a donor can be a very difficult time for their loved ones. Choose your words wisely to reflect your respect. Broach the topic delicately, as well as sentimentally.

This also has the potential to better ensure a lasting connection with one of your legacy gift giver’s loved ones or their entire network.

Integrate Planned Giving into Your Marketing Infrastructure

The website page dedicated to your planned giving program will be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy and should include plenty of informational copy. On this page, it’s also a good idea to include a contact form that the prospective donor can fill out.

What to Include

Describe each planned giving level in detail, along with what each gift level looks like for the donor. Another point to highlight is any donation milestones, such as for specific amounts or percentages. Be sure to include multiple ways for prospects to reach out for one-on-one support, such as by phone, video call, email, and/or chat.

If resources allow, utilizing an automated chat or live person chat function can streamline the planned giving process for both you and your donor prospects. In turn, this can free up your team to provide more customized forms of engagement as your prospects move through the process.

Add Convenient Q & A’s

Regardless of what type or types of media you choose to create as part of your planned giving marketing strategy, consider including an easy-to-follow frequently asked questions and answer sections.

If you are initiating a planned giving marketing campaign for the first time, practice putting yourself in the shoes of a prospective donor. This will be especially helpful when explaining things like:

  • Complex financial terms
  • Tax requirements
  • Legal procedures

Though it is vital to incorporate specific details like these, be sure to weave in emotional, relationship-based language as much as possible, too.

To generate even more ideas, consider brainstorming with your team to fill out your planned giving resources page. A few of the questions you might consider incorporating include:

  • How can I pick a planned gift that works for my unique needs?
  • What is a bequest? What other types of planned gifts are available?
  • Are there different perks for each planned giving level?
  • How will my gift be used? What impact will it make?

Along with this, you may want to consider creating a separate section of questions and answers directed at family members who have questions about a legacy gift left by a loved one.

Get the Word Out

As mentioned earlier, in addition to building your one-stop-shop planned giving webpage, you should include information about your planned giving options in:

  • Email and direct mail newsletters
  • The donation section of your website
  • The events calendar page of your website
  • Comprehensive annual reports and overviews
  • Local and regional publications, such as magazines and newspapers

Another way to promote your planned giving program is through public displays of gratitude on your website or in your annual report. This not only serves as a way to thoroughly honor your legacy donors, but it can also inspire others to consider their own legacy.

There are lots of ways to do this in an engaging way, such as by including pictures or videos with permission from the legacy gift giver or their family.

Use Web Design to Your Advantage

Depending on your team’s experience and expertise, you may want to design your planned giving program website page in house or hire outside help. Either way, make sure you devote the necessary time and energy to creating a website page that is:

  • Engaging and informative
  • Visually appealing
  • Clear and concise
  • Easy to navigate

When creating all your marketing materials, including those for planned giving, take care to create virtual content that adapts to a laptop computer or smartphone device. This means the formatting of the page itself will be automatically altered when viewed on a phone to accommodate the more compact screen.

In this day and age, everyone wants easily digestible information that they can access from anywhere at any time. It is likely that many of your prospective planned gift givers may be looking at your nonprofit’s planned giving homepage from a mobile device.

There are a variety of ways to format your website page and the sky is the limit in terms of how creative you want to be with your content. Whichever way you choose to do so, take care to make sure it embodies your organization’s unique style.

Give Direction

One of the goals of building a planned giving page is to encourage and motivate donors to establish recurring gifts. In order for a donor to give—whether it’s a significant, one-time-only planned gift or a recurring gift outside of the legacy program—they’ll need a clear, convenient route to do so.

For this reason, you should always include a direct call to action in all of your planned giving marketing materials. To draw more attention to this, create an easy-to-click button that directs your donors to the next step. The easier it is for people to make a contribution, the more likely they will be to take concrete action in the moment.

When creating this call-to-action button, consider using a catchy phrase such as, “Increase Your Impact with a Recurring Gift,” as opposed to the standard “Donate” or “Donate Now.” Again, this will evoke the emotional connection that makes up the foundation of your planned giving program as a whole.

Spend Time Face to Face

Though much can be effectively communicated virtually, nothing can replace direct contact with a prospective legacy gift giver. If an in-person meeting is not feasible at the moment, make sure someone on your team is available to connect with prospects via a video call.

When a face-to-face meeting is possible, this can be the best way to explain your planned giving program, answer questions, and connect with a donor prospect. Since planned giving can get confusing fast, being in the same room with a donor can better mitigate that confusion than other forms of communication.

Check out our Major Gift Guide

Combine Our Donor Intelligence with Your Planned Giving Marketing Strategy

By following a carefully planned giving marketing strategy, you’ll be able to reach the right donors at the right time with the right ask. Reliable prospect research and fundraising intelligence are an important part of this process, which is where iWave can help your nonprofit well into the future.

By scanning billions of datapoints, our fully customizable platform delivers key donor insights to help you effectively support your planned giving program, as well as your marketing efforts. We also provide personalized onboarding and infinite support to ensure your nonprofit can take full advantage of our services, no matter where you are in your planned giving marketing strategy.

Schedule a free demo or assessment to explore how our nonprofit fundraising platform can help you achieve your planned giving marketing goals today!