How planned giving marketing is like selling new cars

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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.

I don’t think this is a stretch at all.  Planned giving marketing is a lot like selling new cars.

Car companies spend billions of dollars each year to market their goods.  They know the following is true:

  1. You never know when a person will need a new car
  2. The average investment in a new car in 2012 was $30,303 (according to Forbes)
  3. A car is obviously not an impulse purchase
  4. Rather, it is a “highly-considered” investment
  5. So marketing messages for automobiles must be ubiquitous (everywhere) in order to build awareness
  6. Leads must be generated
  7. Relationships must be cultivated
  8. Fears need to be addressed
  9. Questions need to be answered
  10. Deals need to be closed
  11. Buyers must be treated like gold so they’ll buy again and refer their friends

Bottom line, planned giving marketers can learn a lot from car companies.  Take a look at the pdf below to see more similarities.


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