We’re at that point in the year when the kids are finally out of school, the fiscal year has ended for many, and we’re all more than halfway through the calendar year. The weather is finally nice, we’re taking our summer vacations, and in general, we’re starting to enjoy a slightly less hectic pace of living. But truth be told, summers aren’t as quiet as they used to be. Families don’t just pack up and head “down the shore” or “down the Cape” for the entire months of July and August. Colleges and even many primary and secondary schools now begin the “fall” sessions in the middle of August – or even earlier. And no one ever really disconnects and gets away from it all anymore, because we have our cell phones and our tablets and all of our 21st century accoutrements with us at all times.
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.
This summer we asked over 340 organizations about how they market charitable gift annuities. One of the most interesting things we learned were the specific tactics organizations were trying to get the word out.
Without a doubt, one of the questions our consulting clients have asked us most often the past couple of years has been, “How can I improve the results of my gift annuity program?” There has been much discussion in the planned giving community on this topic. Professor Russell James’s recent research has added greatly to the discourse by highlighting the importance of word choice and phrasing in planned giving marketing messages. It’s exciting to have his academic research available to help us shape how we spread the word about planned giving.