Personalizing the Grey Flannel Suit — Part II: Seeing, Hearing, and Building Familiarity

Seeing, Hearing, and Building Familiarity

As we mentioned in Part 1, planned giving is all about people. Donors don’t leave legacies to empty, grey flannel suits. Donors want to see the face of the person wearing the suit, because philanthropy is about forming relationships with people. And in order to attract people and form relationships, you need personalization.

Personalization is the key to attracting prospects, optimizing donor relationships, and maximizing the donations that result from them. In short, personalization attracts people. And in the for-profit world, it’s almost second nature.

The trouble is, many of us have trouble with the concept of personalization when it comes to applying it to our jobs. How much is enough? How much is too much?

Try the following to enhance that personal touch:

  • Photographs – Seeing is believing. For prospects, photographs on your website or in written communications literally put a face to your name. So capture images that balance friendliness and professionalism, portraying staff members at ease but in full “customer-relationship management mode.”
  • Phone communications – A greeting like “Good afternoon, this is Sandy, how can I help you?” makes a warm impression. And no matter how busy you are, emphasize the personal with responses like, “Oh yes, Mrs. Meyer, thank you for calling,” instead of the sterile, off-putting “Hold, please.”
  • In conversation — Don’t be “All business, all the time.” Ask questions, and remember details. “How’s your grandson Jeffrey, Mrs. Meyer? Didn’t he have a birthday recently?” This is personalization it its best. It shows the donor you’re paying attention; that you care about them, and not just their money.
  • E-mail and letters – Your organization’s communications enable you to spotlight different members of your team. For instance: “Dear Mrs. Meyer, My name is Richard Jones, and I am going to make sure we all stay on the same page during the process of finalizing your gift language.” Remember, the team members themselves don’t actually have to write these – you can ghostwrite them – but everyone should know what he or she is supposed to have said!
  • Birthdays and Holidays — Send donors a card with a personal note — they’ll appreciate it more than you know.

Just remember: Personalization is the key to planned giving. Because impersonal is the opposite of outreach. And outreach makes gifts happen.


Categories: Planned Giving Marketing, Relationships

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