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How to Optimize Your Planned Giving Inserts for Results in 6 Steps

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.

optimize your planned giving insertsI always recommend including inserts with my clients’ annual fund thank you letters.
Doing so builds awareness for planned giving (in general) and generates leads. But too many nonprofits simply throw an insert into their envelopes without any strategic thought whatsoever. So I thought I’d write a post to show you how to optimize your planned giving inserts for results.
First, you should know that these inserts do not need to be expensive. I have seen down-and-dirty, one-color inserts printed on a copier actually perform better than colorful, slick, nicely designed inserts.
But before you take that tidbit of information to the bank, you should recognize that every organization’s audience is different. Always TEST everything! You just never know. Sometimes you might be very surprised at what works and what doesn’t work.
 
Now, having said that, here’s how I recommend you optimize your efforts:

Step 1. Create 4 different inserts (some black and white, some colorful, some slick, some not so slick… and vary the offer and the copy).

Step 2. Carefully select the words you use. They make a big difference. And, if you don’t know which words work, listen to a recording of this webinar (or, of course, have my team create the inserts for you).

Step 3. Have them randomly inserted with your acknowledgement letters and a reply envelope (for goodness sake… don’t forget to include a reply envelope, your phone number, and a link to your LegacyGiftmaker website).

Step 4. After the inserts are returned to you, count each of the different responses to determine which is getting returned the most. That’ll be your control.

Step 5. Now that you have a top performer, create 3 more inserts to continue to test randomly but this time only make small changes to them (you can change one tremendously if you really want to).

Step 6. Go back to step 3 and repeat this process forever.

There’s really no excuse for not doing this. It’s easy and inexpensive to print 4 inserts at one time. And, as always, MarketSmart can do ALL of this for you if you want. That way all you have to do is keep track of which ones are being returned so we can review the results for you and make changes based on our experience with our other clients.
 
So there you go! That’s how you optimize your planned giving inserts for results.
 
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8 responses to “How to Optimize Your Planned Giving Inserts for Results in 6 Steps”

  1. Art Stine says:

    This is GREAT advice! We have used buckslip (insert) program for years. We have experienced success in the form of 5 or more inquiries per month! Thanks for bringing this point top of mind!
    Art

  2. Art Stine says:

    This is GREAT advice! We have used buckslip (insert) program for years. We have experienced success in the form of 5 or more inquiries per month! Thanks for bringing this point top of mind!
    Art

  3. What would an online ‘ insert’ on planned giving look like, according to you? We do a lot of e-zine sending but not so much mail in the post. If I would like planned giving to be addressed, I just make it one of the subjects in the e-zine (emailing newsletter), but maybe you have more or better ideas?

  4. What would an online ‘ insert’ on planned giving look like, according to you? We do a lot of e-zine sending but not so much mail in the post. If I would like planned giving to be addressed, I just make it one of the subjects in the e-zine (emailing newsletter), but maybe you have more or better ideas?

  5. Greg Warner says:

    Hi Petra-
    That would be a “landing page”. But with an e-zine, you’ll want to provide an offer of value in order to get folks to click on the link and convert (submit a request) on the landing page.
    We have tons of offer ideas. Too many to list here. But feel free to request a demo and one of my Solutionists will be glad to brainstorm a bit with you (for free of course).

  6. Greg Warner says:

    Hi Petra-
    That would be a “landing page”. But with an e-zine, you’ll want to provide an offer of value in order to get folks to click on the link and convert (submit a request) on the landing page.
    We have tons of offer ideas. Too many to list here. But feel free to request a demo and one of my Solutionists will be glad to brainstorm a bit with you (for free of course).

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