Using Direct Mail for Your Planned Giving Efforts

If you really want to bump up your planned giving efforts, stand-alone direct mail packages and newsletters dedicated to plan giving are the surest way to reach your targeted audience.

Many nonprofits utilize a planned giving officer who is more often than not, on the road talking to major donors about estate planning opportunities such as charitable gift annuities, using IRAs as a charitable trusts, gifts of stock, and bequests. Direct mail however, is an engaging tool you should be using to get planned giving prospects to take the next step towards long term financial commitment to your organization.

What Does Successful Direct Mail Planned Giving Look Like?
Successful planned giving direct mail packages include a personalized donor centric letter reminding them of their dedication to your cause and their value as a loyal supporter. The copy should be inspiring, highlight the organizations long term needs, and include information about what their legacy gift will bring to the future.  A reply form should also be included with check off boxes and a call to action for more information. Mail the letter, reply form, and reply envelope in a first class closed faced outside envelope with a live stamp. Oftentimes post cards can be used as inexpensive reminders to prospects in-between the targeted direct mail appeals.

Who Should I Mail To?
The most interesting story I should share with you is about a client whose donor gave $845 over 10 years but gave a $1 million dollar bequest in year 11!  Another 4 donors gave over $4 million in bequests and  only gave a total of $1870 over 9 years. It’s not necessarily your high wealth senior donors who give high dollar gifts. Most times it’s your multi donors who gave several smaller gifts over the course of several years and then years later surprise you with a huge gift – providing you’ve cultivated them along the way.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up!

When you receive that first inquiry as a result of a direct mail planned giving appeal, always follow up with a phone call and a visit.  Face to face visits are important. Also, sending updates on program successes are crucial.  I recommend two Planned Giving newsletters a year focusing specifically on the planned giving efforts of your organization.  Include planned giving donor testimonials with photos, tips on estate planning, examples of how donations are used, a note from the executive director, and easy to read heartfelt stories about how bequests help fulfill your mission.

The key is to keep your donors engaged. Continued stewardship is an investment in your organizations future.

Contact me today for a FREE 30 Minute Consultation about utilizing direct mail in your planned giving efforts.  We’re here to help any way we can to increase your organization’s success.

Sandy Ruyack

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