It may strike a charity as odd to “market” its planned giving program the way a for-profit company would market a product or service. While it’s true that some donors will make planned gifts if a charity does absolutely nothing to encourage them, the more the charity speaks up and delivers the right message, the more gifts will be received. Similarly, the more savvy the charity can be about understanding who is likely to make a planned gift, how to communicate with those prospects, and what to say to them, the more dollars will actually come through the door.

As a charity goes about marketing its planned giving program, Evergreen can assist in two major ways. It can also render “first aid.”

Developing a Strategy – and a Formal Plan

No aspect of a charity’s planned giving marketing effort should be haphazard or scattershot. Rather, everything should be done with a particular purpose in mind, all as part of a coordinated approach that is carefully thought out before being implemented, evaluated on an ongoing basis, and adjusted as appropriate.

Whatever the charity does with regard to planned giving marketing will be informed by available resources (money, time, and expertise), the nature of the charity’s mission, the characteristics of its donors (e.g., are they spread throughout the country or concentrated within a 25-mile radius?), and reasonable expectations about what can be achieved within a given time frame – along with other factors. Evergreen can help walk the charity through the various considerations and ensure sound decisions are made and then carried out.

Creating Materials

A good wheel doesn’t need to be reinvented. Charities are fortunate to be able to call upon several vendors who provide first rate planned giving marketing products and services in a cost effective manner. Thus, in many cases there is no reason a charity should struggle to develop on its own what it can purchase elsewhere. Evergreen is familiar with the available offerings and can make suggestions about which companies to approach for which things.

In other instances, however, a charity will do better customizing the design and content of its print and electronic materials. Even though Evergreen does not have graphic design capabilities, it can play a role in analyzing and critiquing current or proposed new design elements.

By contrast, Evergreen can readily produce copy for numerous planned giving marketing pieces, such as:

  • Direct Mail Items (letters, post cards, e-mail messages, response devices, and other “enclosures”)
  • Newsletter Articles
  • Brochures
  • Ads
  • “One-pagers”
  • Planned Giving Web Pages
  • White Papers

Significantly, text provided by Evergreen is not only persuasive, but also technically accurate. Indeed, the subtleties of conveying planned giving concepts and rules need to be respected, and Evergreen understands that trying to be glib can backfire!

Bill Zook has been a trusted advisor to Seattle Foundation for over 20 years. During that time, Seattle Foundation and the philanthropists it serves have benefited greatly from Bill’s considerable knowledge and experience. In addition to providing technical expertise, he builds relationships and cares deeply about his clients and our community.”

Jeanette Lodwig, J.D. Former General Counsel, Seattle Foundation