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How to really measure the effectiveness of your legacy gift marketing efforts.

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.

Russell James Book Cover about Planned Giving

I’m kicking myself because I didn’t think of this and I certainly can’t take credit for it.  A brilliant researcher (Russell James III, J.D., Ph.D., Professor, Texas Tech University) gave me the idea recently.

The best way to measure the effectiveness of your legacy gift marketing is really quite easy.  Keep in mind that most donors will not inform you of the final decision.  So, since your organization is probably conducting donor surveys fairly regularly, just be sure to consistently include questions that aim to determine:

  • How much of your donor base is aware of the fact that they can leave a legacy gift to support your mission (because awareness is a key ingredient of successful marketing)
  • How many (what percent of your donors) answer affirmatively to a question about their intentions 

For example ask:

“If you signed a will in the next 3 months, what is the likelihood you might leave a BEQUEST gift to _____.”
Of course you should include a question that aims to uncover hidden gifts too!
Make sure the questions are asked in precisely the same way from year to year.  When the responses roll-in, compare the yearly results.  Then you’ll have a clear picture that proves whether your your efforts are building awareness and changing intentions.

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