As we approach the end of the year, it’s a great time to look ahead and anticipate the next big marketing trend for 2020. Technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, so of course, you might think next year’s big marketing trend would focus on new technology. You’d be wrong. While the use of technology in data-driven marketing will certainly continue to be important in 2020, your overarching focus should be on people. Specifically, spending time improving your donors’ digital experiences.
Pick up the phone and call your top planned giving prospect. Don’t know what you’ll say? Then review their history to determine what your strategy should be. Don’t know who your top prospect is? Then go throu gh your list to identify the top ten planned giving prospects. Don’t have a list? Then screen your donor database based on FLAG – frequency, longevity, age, and gender to create a list of 100 prospects.
Despite skillful cultivation and nurturing, there are times when a qualified planned gift prospect will decline your request for a gift. You have a number of objectives at that point: 1.) determine the true objection, 2.) identify the source of the objection, and 3.) determine if the prospect is refusing to make any gift at all or if it is just a matter of timing. Explore different gift funding amounts and vehicles or a similar gift vehicle at a different time. Some common objections to a planned gift include: • The proposal presents too many choices and the prospect is paralyzed by its complexity In your efforts to be thorough, you may overwhelm a prospect with too much information. The proposal should communicate the features of a gift, but too many choices can create indecision. Don’t offer variations the donor hasn’t specifically requested to see. Planned gifts can help achieve multiple objectives; however, the illustration should focus on the objectives the donor has articulated as most important. You’ll have the opportunity to refine your proposal in subsequent discussions. • Family members might express concern about the planned gift Whether motivated by a concern about a parent’s capacity or concern regarding their own portion of an estate, children are probably the family members most likely to object to a parent making a planned gift. If the donor’s estate will be subject to transfer tax, point out that the cost of a charitable gift is pennies on the dollar after factoring in estate and gift taxes. Also, explore creative ways to use wealth replacement insurance in conjunction with a life income plan that can potentially increase the children’s inheritance and make a charitable gift at the same time. • Advisors might articulate objections to a planned gift. Advisors are protectors of their clients’ wealth and helping them give it away is counter-intuitive. It is common for advisors to neglect their clients' philanthropic objectives. Financial advisors are often paid a percentage of assets under management. If their client makes a gift, there are fewer assets to manage and the advisor makes less money. Sometimes, the solution is for the prospect to communicate the importance of making a gift to the advisors. A charitable trust managed by the donor’s advisor may be a more palatable option.
As I went about making some online gifts to charitable organizations toward the end of 2011, I had occasion to visit a number of websites. Even though on each site there were a handful of core matters (such as your name, how much you want to contribute, how you’d like to pay, etc.) addressed by various questions or blanks to be filled in, I was fascinated to see what sorts of optional things each site did or did not address.
In client service, I have the pleasure of talking with many of our clients every day. Every now and then I hear a story so inspiring that I am compelled to share it.