What activity metrics you should measure for effective long-term planned giving marketing

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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.

Tracking marketing metrics

For effective planned giving marketing, you really should be keeping track of your metrics. That’s because it’s not like traditional fundraising.  You can’t send out a letter and count the dollars 6 weeks later.  It just doesn’t work the same way.

I’ve seen some foolish things in planned giving marketing.  But one of the worst mistakes you can make is to look at immediate revenue as your number one metric.  Instead, since planned giving marketing involves a long-term fundraising strategy, you really need to measure “activities”… not dollars.

This has been proven effective in the private sector for enterprise-level sales (and you better believe that planned giving is an enterprise-level sale) where the best sales managers and marketing directors know that you shouldn’t only measure outcomes.  Rather, you should measure activities.  If the activities are happening and the numbers are going in the right direction, the revenue WILL follow.  It works every time without fail.

Here are the activities we recommend you measure for effective long-term planned giving marketing:

1- Lead generation and disclosures

  • Number of leads generated
  • Cost per lead generated
  • Number of highly qualified leads generated
  • Cost per highly qualified lead generated
  • Number of disclosures generated
  • Cost per disclosure generated

2- Awareness/reached Number of people reached with planned giving messages in the following:

  • Publications including magazines, newspapers, newsletters, etc.
  • Inserts in acknowledgements
  • Facebook posts
  • Banners or posters
  • Etc.

3- Cultivation numbers Number of people nurtured with on-going messages multiplied by the frequency of those messages via:

  • Telephone calls
  • Personalized letters
  • Personalized emails
  • Marketing automation emails
  • Face-to-face visits
  • Proposals written
  • Proposals properly presented

4- Engagements With the right software, you can now track individual prospect engagement with your organization online including:

  • Number of times visiting your website
  • Number of clicks on that website
  • Where were the clicks (what topics)
  • How long did they spend online (on average)
  • Number of cultivation emails opened
  • Number of clicks on cultivation emails

2 responses to “What activity metrics you should measure for effective long-term planned giving marketing”

  1. So smart Greg. When I teach setting up planned giving campaigns, I advise that the goals, especially early on, should focus on some form of written advice (print or digital) from prospects regarding their gift, and most importantly how much activity takes place in the campaign. We now know that as much activity as can be generated, the more successful the revenue stream should be down the road.

  2. So smart Greg. When I teach setting up planned giving campaigns, I advise that the goals, especially early on, should focus on some form of written advice (print or digital) from prospects regarding their gift, and most importantly how much activity takes place in the campaign. We now know that as much activity as can be generated, the more successful the revenue stream should be down the road.

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