I just rediscovered my 404 page… and I want to talk to you about it! Ever search the Web and — just when you think you’ve finally found what you wanted — you click a link, only to get the dreaded message:
404 Page Not Found.
Darn! It’s like looking for a CRUT, mysterious like the 404. Where is it hiding that no one can ever find it? Is there more than one, or (like Santa) is it the only one in the world?
And finally, why do people have to be so uncreative when showcasing their “missing page?” Why not use some humor while also letting us know why it’s missing? Here’s my 404 page.
So Where Do I Find This 404?
I personally think the real 404 page is hiding somewhere in an 89 cent notebook in the Wal-Mart located in Cordova, TN. The person who finds it will win a free ticket to a 10-day course that covers old planned giving tropes like the Generation Skipping Tax and how to assess the value of a 1948 Barbie Doll collection.
To further justify this mind-numbing experience, there’s probably even a breakout session on why a donor can’t use religion as a tax shelter to claim the full market value of a yacht donated to an animal shelter in preparation for a second Great Flood. Or better yet, why you can’t justify the deduction as a tool the nonprofit can use because they entertain donors on cruises, whereas the nearest body of water is 2000 miles away. Or one that covers the intricacies of optimizing fixed annuity rates through careful market timing, extensive research, and astrology. (Are you comfortable in the fundraising weeds? Find out with our Planned Giving I.Q. Test.) … yes, and sorry, I do have a nerdy planned giving side as well which sometimes ekes out. My website is so much more than my 404 page!
Have you ever realized how often our industry is just as mundane as those 404 messages? We strive to be geniuses about the details of CRUTs (our version of the 404), instead of knowing how to market CRUTs and bring in the gifts. (By the way, we cover both the nerdy part of CRUTs and its marketing vectors in our SECURE Act webinar. Here’s the recording, and here’s our Questions and Answers session. If you missed any of our live sessions, you can purchase all the recordings here.)
James Gamble, of Proctor & Gamble fame, once said, “Any fool can create a bar of soap. It takes a genius to sell it.” P&G’s genius was to focus on the fact that the soap floated, making it easy to find in the tub or wash bucket, and not how the soap was made.
In our industry, this translates to: Anyone can learn the ins and out of CRUTs, but it takes a fundraiser with good marketing skills to “sell” them. Your focus should be on showing the donor the benefits of the CRUT (it’s a gift that pays the donor income), instead of details about how it works.
Those who sell the soaps make millions. Those who sell the CRUTs raise millions. See the analogy?
We focus on the “selling” part — marketing. You focus on learning marketing, so that you can raise what you need to raise, and more. (The Planned Giving Bible™ is a good place to start). Now, be sure to drop me a line, and let me know what you think of my 404 page – if you can find it!