Biggest Planned Giving Marketing Challenge?

Biggest Planned Giving Marketing Challenge?

What’s the biggest marketing challenge you face when it comes to planned giving? Is it budget? Capacity? Support? Keeping it simple? Read on to find out what your peers have said — then drop me a line to let me know yours.

Double trouble

Right now my biggest challenge is two-fold. The first part is developing a brand for our planned giving marketing, so that whenever someone receives communication from us about planned giving – stand-alone print pieces, electronic, pages in school publications – they recognize it is coming from the University and is related to planned giving. The second part of the challenge is timing the mailing of print pieces so as not to compete with other fundraising mailings and/or cause the readers to feel they are being bombarded with school mail. I have been here a little over one year. I am restarting a planned giving program that was on the back burner (if not off the stove and in the refrigerator) for several years, so there is the need to rebuild its branding and establish a clear, consistent and regular stream of messaging.

Bob, Milwaukee

Plan? What plan?

Our biggest challenge is that we don’t currently have a marketing plan in place for planned giving. We have a giving society and we recognize those donors with a premium, but we aren’t actively marketing the option. This is due to a number of circumstances, but until we devise a formal marketing plan for planned giving, it will remain a challenge.

Kendra, Indianapolis

We’ve only just begun

Our biggest challenge is budget. We’re a not-for-profit with very little marketing budget and just embarking on an endowment/planned giving campaign. We’re trying to create a lot of stuff on our own.

Paul, Allentown, PA

Budget crunch

Our biggest challenge is finding a budget for direct mail—which I believe can’t be a one off, but rather a regular, systematic campaign—when so many of our dollars need to go into our annual fund campaign.

Phil, Wilmington, DE

Finding the target

I think we have all of our messages in place and we are putting out consistent information on planned giving throughout the year. The challenge for my shop has been choosing an audience and attempting to narrow down audiences to get a bigger ROI. It’s not so much content as it is audience and the right formula on who to target.

Jim, Washington, D.C.

Staffing shortages

My biggest challenge for planned giving marketing is capacity. We are short on staff and this program’s marketing continues to receive minimal attention from me. We are hoping to change that going forward but for now, we see the potential but just can’t get everything done that we’d like to do.

Kim, Wyoming

Starting the conversation

Our single greatest challenge with respect to planned giving marketing is convincing people to be open to having a discussion about planned giving at all. We have repeatedly tried to explain to our donors that planned giving, or at least thinking about planned giving, is not just for octogenarians but can benefit people in a wide age group.

Rosalie, Chicago

Turning words into action

My biggest challenge, which may or may not fall into the marketing category, is to find an effective way to turn verbal commitments into signed agreements.

Lynn, Los Angeles

Keeping it simple

Since we are just starting up our planned giving program, I have gathered an enormous amount of information, but my favorite piece is the “Ultimate Quick Reference Planned Giving Pocket Guide – 2016.” I love the diagrams that show how each gift made to the nonprofit flows, and the benefits/challenges section. It’s very handy and perfect when the answers aren’t on the tip of my tongue. So my single biggest marketing challenge is how to not intimidate a potential donor with too much information.

Annette, Pennsylvania

The board game

My biggest challenge is getting my Board members to seriously make contacts and connections for me to follow up on.

Lynda, Florida

Keeping track

Biggest challenge in my opinion is tracking our marketing efforts.

Neil, Rochester, NY


The biggest marketing challenge we have regarding planned giving is making communications and advertising simple to understand, while also creating a call to action.

[Viken’s advice: Don’t simplify. Over-simplify.]

Jadie, Raleigh, NC

If You’ve Read This Far…

If you’ve read this far, it’s worth spending your time to read what’s in store for planned giving… tomorrow (PDF).This is a great article we wrote with Dr. Rebecca Janney after interviewing six experts in the field (Jeff Comfort, Scott Lumpkin, Lynn Malzone Ierardi, Lisa Repko, Camilyn Leone, and Scott Janney).

Categories: Planned Giving Marketing, Marketing Planned Giving


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