Charitable Gift Annuity Marketing Survey Findings - Resources, Policies and Patterns

After surveying over 340 organizations on how they market gift annuities, one of the most exciting things we learned was that most organizations saw an  increase in gift annuity donors in the past two years. Whether credit goes to the upturn of the economy, to donors feeling more financially secure (these two facts are related, of course), or some other factor or factors, gift annuity programs are growing again after witnessing a major slump from 2008 to 2011. In this blog post, we dive further into the results from the survey and investigate some of the factors that may have contributed to the increase in the number of new donors.


There are several factors that could account for the observed increase. What was most surprising to us is that some of the factors we asked about did not have the expected effect. You can see evidence of this below in the responses to several questions we asked about how charities are promoting gift annuities to their supporters.

Interestingly, only 20% of respondents reported an increase in marketing budget for gift annuities. Nearly half of the respondents have used data analytics to help them identify prospective donors and over half have reduced the size of their mailings. Are these two facts related? We can’t be certain, but this outcome could easily be attributed to the effective use of analytics to improve identification of planned giving prospects. The most important point is that 80% of respondents are actively promoting gift annuities. Once an organization establishes a CGA program, it’s important to stick with it. Marketing annuities consistently in good times and bad clearly pays off over time. 

Mailing Patterns

The pie chart below shows that our survey participants find spring and fall to be the times of year during which their gift annuity mailings are most effective. Only 2% identified summer as the best time of year to send a gift annuity mailing.

Most respondents have not changed the frequency of their gift annuity mailings in the last few years. Of those who have changed the frequency of their mailings, more organizations have increased than have decreased them.

These results are consistent with a point we make with all of our consulting clients, which is to be consistent in your marketing efforts and to get the word out whenever it works best for you.


The next table makes plain that neither minimum gift nor state registration requirements have affected how the great majority of charities market gift annuities.


Interestingly, the responses to the two questions graphed below were almost identical*, suggesting that increases or decreases in marketing effort typically occur in both contact frequency and number of prospects contacted. However, we don’t have enough information to be certain that is the case.

*This graph reflects the results for both questions, as the response distribution was nearly identical


Looking to improve your charitable gift annuity marketing? Read our white paper, the Cultivation Funnel to learn about how a content marketing plan can help bring your prospects from an awareness of life income gifts to close.

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