Using Direct Mail for Your Planned Giving Efforts

Using direct mail for your planned giving efforts is an engaging tool that should be used to get planned giving prospects to take the next step towards long term financial commitment to your organization.

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, gifts of stock, and bequests.

However, if you 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.

What Does Successful Direct Mail Package Look Like?

Appeal Letter

Successful planned giving direct mail packages include a personalized donor-centric letter that is sent to your planned giving prospects. The package reminds them of their dedication to your cause and their value as a loyal supporter.


Include inspiring and heartfelt copy highlight the organizations long term needs. Be sure to include information about what their legacy gift will bring to the future.

Reply form

Include an easy to use reply form and a call to action allowing them to receive additional information.

Mail the letter, reply form, and reply envelope in a first-class closed faced outside envelope with a live stamp. Oftentimes postcards can be used as inexpensive reminders to prospects in-between the targeted direct mail appeals.

Who Should You Mail To?

The most interesting story I’ll share with you is about a client whose donor gave $845 over 10 years but gave a whopping $1 million dollar bequest in year 11!

Another 4 donors gave over $4 million in bequests but only gave a total of $1870 over 9 years.

So 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. After years of successful cultivation, surprise, your organization receives a huge gift.

You must cultivate your donors if you expect them to one day become a part of your planned giving program. 

You Must Follow Up!

When you receive that first inquiry as a result of a heartwarming and targeted direct mail – planned giving appeal, always follow up with a phone call and a visit.

Because face to face visits are important in order for the donor to develop trust in your organization, be sure to consistently share updates on program successes. They are crucial.

What Should Be in a Planned Giving Newsletter?

Once your donor becomes a planned giver, I recommend mailing two Planned Giving newsletters a year.  Focus them 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.

Stand-alone direct mail packages and newsletters are the surest way to bump up your planned giving efforts and to reach your targeted audience.

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

Like us on Facebook

Leave a Comment