Is Your Marketing Level Set to Overkill?
Or, how to get your prospects tune you out without trying. [Originally published in The Journal of Gift Planning (NCPG, now Charitable Git Planners).]
Today, the Internet is offering fundraisers new and exciting opportunities to help market their programs. At the same time, boards, vice presidents and development directors are imposing ever more stringent requirements on planned giving officers for efficiency and accountability. It’s a good time to think about this: sometimes working harder means that we’re working against ourselves.
What do the mavens of planned giving promotion (we admit it: we included) emphasize in every presentation you attend? Market aggressively.
“Stay in their faces! Market more to keep their attention!”
In a strategic context, we still believe this is sound advice. Unfortunately, it can be taken too far and often is, even by development folks with the best of intentions. The idea that no program is so successful that it cannot be improved — with just one more newsletter (which, in their present form are highly ineffective) or one more effusive handwritten note clipped to a quarterly income check — takes universal marketing advice to a self-defeating extreme. In the short run, you may feel the planned giving engine is firing on all cylinders — but in the long run, such overwhelming output can have a significant effect on an organization’s performance. A significant negative effect.
“Too much junk in the air.”
Determined fundraisers armed with today’s arsenal of print and electronic marketing techniques, a double fistful of brochures, and a Send key run the risk of seriously wearing out their welcome with their constituencies, and alienating the very prospects they are trying to cultivate. And alienated prospects mean declining response rates and fewer gifts closed.
That’s what we mean by marketing overkill. At our firm, we can show you how to avoid the pitfalls of setting your marketing level on overkill through a smarter, mission-driven, research-based marketing approach.
We published a longer article (over 10 years ago predicting the future of planned giving) examining this phenomenon in The Journal of Gift Planning. Please read it for more in-depth information. We even cover the best months to drop your mailings.
In the meantime, give us a call and we can help get you started developing a sharper, more focused marketing approach that will help you close more planned gifts. And isn’t that really what you want?
I love the world of planned giving. Read how I fell into it.