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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

Traditional planned giving marketing theory talks about concentric circles a lot.  Start with your Board, then major donors, and keep going outward toward the least qualified prospects.

Sometimes I find myself muddying the waters by arguing against part of this theory.  That’s because you never really know who could deliver a big bequest.  It could come from a one-time donor who couldn’t afford monthly or yearly gifts but happened to live in a home worth hundreds of thousands of dollars— and she wanted your organization to have it.  Or it could come from someone who inherited money late in life.

Of course we all know that your budgets are tight and you have to focus on the most likely prospects.  So let’s circle back to the beginning of this post and talk about your Board.  Have you asked them to plan a gift for your organization after their lifetimes?  There simply is no better target group for your message.
We recently wrote a letter that was individually delivered to each member of the organization’s Board and it inspired three gifts immediately.  The gift sizes have not been disclosed but let’s assume they meet the organization’s average gift size of $40,000.  That comes to $120,000 from a simple letter.
Sorry folks— you just can’t get a better return on your investment than that.

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