When Does Something Become a Trend?

It's always interesting to discuss the latest marketing trends, especially since trends don’t occur that often in the planned giving world. However, in the last 18 months, we have conducted several marketing evaluations and audits that have revealed something - a shift in thinking.

In the course of completing these evaluations and audits, we asked the question, "Does your organization have a dedicated planned giving marketing resource in the development office?”

As little as three years ago, we saw few organizations that had dedicated resources for planned giving marketing.  While the results are not statistically significant, as they are based on the responses from only 20 institutions of higher education and healthcare organizations, they are noteworthy nonetheless.

Here are the results:

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This marketing resource person was either a staff member of the planned giving department who had reduced prospect/donor duties, or was a staff person with both marketing and stewardship responsibilities. In both cases this was the department’s point person for marketing.

It was surprising to see that 86% of the 20 organizations have a planned giving marketing resource in development. Since PG Calc offers marketing services, we know that a significant number of organizations outsource their planned giving marketing. However, what we know from our marketing audits is that outsourcing marketing doesn't mean relinquishing marketing responsibility. When organizations outsource their planned giving marketing, they are gaining expertise, execution, and possibly strategy. It's the smart organizations, however, that know they still have responsibility for making sure the marketing message is on brand, is coordinated and integrated within the overall development calendar, and receives the appropriate priority. That level of marketing activity will always be organizationally driven and required for a successful planned giving program. It's hopeful to see that this "trend" may well be taking hold.