What's wrong with the words on planned giving websites?

Now that I have your attention, I’m actually going to tell you that the problem with planned giving websites doesn’t begin with the words.  It begins with who is writing them.

How marketing planned giving is like selling insurance

Is marketing planned giving at all like selling insurance?

Let me ask you this.  If you owned a car wash, would you get your employees to write the copy on your website?  No!  Then, would you get the engineer who created the machines used to wash the cars to do it?  No!

Ok, I realize that a car wash is not the same as planned giving.  So, how about something more complex… more sophisticated…  How about something that could have major legal ramifications?  How about something that must require legalese… like insurance!?!

Sure!  Let’s go to State Farm’s website at www.statefarm.com.  They’re selling that stuff.

Did you go there?  Did you notice the conversion opportunities at the top.  “Get a Quote.”  “Contact Us.”  “Manage Claims.”

And did you check out the copy below?  Hmm.  Not very complex, huh?  Hmm. Are you scratching your head yet?

Alright… I’ll just say it.  Most planned giving websites are written by the wrong people.  They usually have the following problems:

  1. They are too complicated
  2. They have too many words
  3. They use legalese that most people don’t understand (My Aunt Carol does not know what appreciated assets are)
  4. They don’t have easy ways for people to contact someone to ask questions
  5. They don’t easily offer downloadable information or a way to sign up for a newsletter
  6. IMPORTANT: They don’t focus on the mission of the organization
  7. They don’t tell folks how their money will be spent
  8. They don’t share bequest language easily
  9. They don’t say who is leading the charge at the non-profit and what his or her strategic plan will be going forward
  10. They don’t emphasize the history and longevity of the organization signaling that an investment in the organization is an investment well-spent

I could go on.  But the point is… people who believe in your mission just want to know the basics about planned giving.  Make it simple.  Make it easy to understand.  Make it emotional.  And make sure they can contact you.


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pabitra chatterjee
pabitra chatterjee
3 years ago

Isn’t it time we dropped aunts and grandmothers as placeholders for laypeople who don’t understand things? Or at least have some uncles and grandfathers too? All three of my living aunts are graduates.

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