Tailoring Strategies for Today’s Donors: A Planned Giving Conversation

At the recent American Council on Gift Annuities Conference in Seattle, brothers Jeremy and Nathan Stelter of the planned giving consultancy firm, the Stelter Company, sat down for a conversation on running a successful donor campaign in today’s nonprofit landscape.

What does this changing environment look like? What does it take to rise above the noise? Nathan published their conversation on Stelter Insights, the company’s excellent blog that offers research, ideas and tips for making fundraisers better at planned giving.

They started by talking about the modern evolution of fundraising and the growing sophistication of donors. “Sending a generic/canned marketing package to a broad, undefined group no longer works,“ Jeremy says “… too many times we call on prospects who are not having success because they are sending canned marketing pieces to an unrefined list with content that does not speak to their donors.”

Nathan then asked how nonprofits should tailor their strategies for today’s planned giving audience. Jeremy sees three critical factors at play:

1. THE LIST: “More than ever, donor lists must be kept up-to-date and segmented, or broken out into demographic differences that enable targeted, niche messaging that speaks to that particular group and moves them to action,” Jeremy says. “These aren’t simply donor lists; they’re ‘your people.’ Get to know them and speak to them accordingly.”

2. THE CONTENT: “This is ‘what you say and how you say it’ through calls to action, tone, length and accuracy of content,” he says. “All are crucial and play into overall strategy and branding. The content should also be personalized to each list whenever possible.”

3. THE CREATIVE : “Packaging content into fresh creative design, backed by marketing strategy, is the ‘welcome mat’ that draws readers in to your story and makes them want to be part of the next chapter,” Jeremy says.

“Time and again, and across thousands of clients, we’ve seen measurable success when these three factors — list, content and creative — are tight, focused and working in tandem.”

Jeremy is Stelter’s director of business development for the Western U.S. Nathan is Stelter’s vice president of business development. You can read their entire conversation in Seattle here.

By Kevin Hyde, Senior Content Writer, Capture Higher Ed