Planned Giving Marketing Plan: Best Ways to Approach Donors

planned giving marketing plan

Planned Giving Marketing Plan: Best Ways to Approach Donors

December 13, 2019
Nandini Singh

The core of planned giving is donor relationships. If a donor has given to your organization over time, and you’ve cultivated a relationship with them, they will be more inclined to create a future gift. But, before you can discuss planned giving with donors, it’s important to understand how to approach them. Let’s explore the necessary steps you should implement in your planned giving marketing plan. With the help of Steve Maughan⁠—VP of Planned Giving and Estates at the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society International⁠—we’ll also explore some tips on how to navigate challenges you may face.

Planned Giving Marketing Plan: 4 Key Steps

Step 1: Creating Your Planned Giving Donor Profile

The first step in your planned giving marketing plan is to identify which donors and prospects to reach out to. As discussed in our previous article in our Planned Giving series, there are two primary planned giving tools you can use: wealth screenings and modeling. Both tools allow you to gain insights into the unique qualities of your planned giving donors. At what age have most of your donors contributed planned gifts? And, what are the commonalities among these donors in terms of interests and behaviors? By screening and modeling your donors, you can also identify which have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. So, you can get a clear impression of how to segment your donor base and who you should target.

For the Humane Society, they have been highly data-driven in their approach. They have primarily looked at the wealth affinity and ages of their donors to determine who to target. For example, the average individual who contributes a planned gift to the Humane Society is either a single or married woman or man with no kids. And, they typically have a liquid net worth between $500k and $5M. Individuals within these segments have the highest likelihood of making a bequest. Additionally, out of these segments, they identify which individuals have the highest likelihood of making a decision in their lifetime. In short, the more decisive the donor, the more likely they are to reach out. So, not only is it important to reach donors based on their potential interest, but it’s also important to reach donors based on the likelihood that they’ll take action.

Step 2: Pinpointing the Best Channels to Communicate With Donors Through

The next step in your planned giving marketing plan is to determine how best to communicate with your donors. This is best done through a highly coordinated, cross channel marketing system. So, instead of just doing a direct mail campaign, you would do email and social media campaigns as well.

A marketing channel that should be leveraged, which is gaining more traction, is social media. Most baby boomers (who are now being targeted for planned gifts) flock to social media to stay connected with their networks. In a 2016 study done by the Pew Research Center, experts found that 81% of adults over the age of 65, with an income over $75K, owned a smartphone. Additionally, the average Facebook user is a 63-year-old woman. So, it’s important to focus your marketing efforts on the areas where your target demographic is communicating. Once you’ve done that, you can create tailored messages that allow donors to begin thinking about planned giving, without you having to persuade them to contribute a planned gift.

Step 3: Meeting Interested Donors in Person

Once you’ve focused your marketing efforts, the next step in your planned giving marketing plan is to set up time to meet with interested donors. Through your cross channel marketing approach, interested donors may begin approaching you, expressing that they are considering contributing a planned gift. So, when you meet with donors in person, it’s important to invite them to learn more about your organization, your mission, and the results you’ve seen.  If donors feel that their personal values align with the mission of your organization, they’ll feel more inspired to give. This is especially important as most baby boomers typically give to two or three charities. So, it’s incredibly important to cultivate and nurture your donor relationships. Show your donors how their interests can be realized in actionable and impactful ways.

Also, if a donor is ready to give, it’s important to follow the donor’s lead when it comes to determining gift size. Since a planned gift is made for future use, the amount can be pretty nebulous. So, it’s important to discuss gifts in terms of the percentage of an estate, or other tax vehicle, rather than a specific amount. That’s for the donor to decide.

Step 4: Collecting Planned Giving Donor Testimonials

The last step in your planned giving marketing plan is to ask donors to share their testimonials. By collecting stories highlighting why donors decided to contribute a planned gift, you have authentic anecdotes that have the ability to connect with prospects. Most donors can look at the testimonials of people who have given and empathize or identify with them. For the Humane Society, they noticed that most of the testimonials didn’t come from wealthy donors. They came from average middle-class donors. They had the opportunity to explain their passion for the cause; why they wanted to give; and how they hoped their story would inspire someone else to do the same.

Connections like these (in-person conversations, donor testimonials, and social media engagement) can also have a major impact on how much donors give. For example, at the Humane Society, they noticed that when donors hadn’t been reached out to, they contributed about $40k. But, when a dialogue had been initiated with them, most would gift $130k or more. That’s a 225% increase. So, by prioritizing connecting with your donors, in different forms through different channels, they’ll feel more inspired to give all they can to support your efforts.

Potential Challenges in Your Planned Giving Fundraising Strategy

Although these steps should help you navigate your planned giving campaign, there are always challenges that may present themselves along the way.

One of the biggest challenges organizations face is receiving gifts from individuals who may not know enough about the cause. Some have very specific ideas of how they would like their gifts to be used. This can be restrictive if their goal doesn’t align with the projects or strategic plan of your organization.

In situations like these, if you can’t fulfill the obligations associated with the proposed gift, it’s better to decline it. No matter how large the contribution may be. It’s important to remain true to the intentions of your donor and how they seek to create change, while also continuing to serve your organization’s mission. Be sure to refer these donors to other resources they can use so their intentions and goal intersect, and can be seen to fruition. Additionally, be mindful when you’re communicating with prospective planned giving donors. Make sure that they have a clear impression of your objectives and initiatives going forward, so your future projects can be supported.

Planned Giving Campaign: Tips for CDOs and Gift Officers

Now that we’ve gone over the necessary steps to implement in your planned giving marketing plan and how to navigate potential challenges, here are some additional things to keep in mind as you communicate with your donors and prospects:

  • Focus on donors who have contributed consistently over time.

If you’re building a program, don’t just focus on individuals who’ve contributed large sums. Talk to the donors who have contributed $5, $10, or even $15 every year for the past five to ten years. These donors consistently support your efforts and display loyalty and passion for your work. If approached for a planned gift, they’ll likely feel inclined to give.

  • Have a board member who’s an advocate and will keep your program going.

When you upsell to your board, it’s important to keep an eye on your progress. Be sure to track the number of new donors and bequests you’re working with annually. It’s also important to track the dollar value of people who’ve committed to contributing a planned gift and shared the confirmed value of their bequests. This reinforces to your board that you’re gaining traction in your program and that it can continue on. Also, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. If you start and stop your program, it can impact your momentum and potential success.

  • Remain donor-centric in your approach.

It’s important to remain cognizant of your supporter’s time. If you’re having a meeting with them, they know exactly why you’re there. So, be very clear and focused on your objectives in your conversation. Remember: it’s the donor’s timeline and decision, not yours. If you establish a system around needing goals, donors may feel that their connection to the cause isn’t valued. This may inhibit them from supporting your efforts beyond their lifetime.

  • Don’t disregard the use of social media.

As most baby boomers flock to social media to stay connected, it’s important to communicate with them in those spaces. You can generate tailored and relevant messages to connect with them. And, because they are active on these platforms, there’s more likely to see and respond to the messages you’re generating about planned giving. Additionally, this also gives potential donors an opportunity to familiarize themselves with your organization’s mission and initiatives. So, they can see how they fit into your efforts, and find ways to make a significant impact.

Driving the Donor Journey: Guide to Descriptive Modeling

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5 Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Technology

nonprofit trends

5 Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Technology

December 11, 2019
Nandini Singh

This past year, we’ve seen the power personalized engagement had on donors. The question is: what other things will influence the nonprofit sector? And how are nonprofits changing based on their integration of predictive analytics, AI/ML, and other technologies? Let’s explore the top 5 nonprofit trends (influenced by tech) that will impact the industry as we move into 2020.

Nonprofit Trends Influenced by Tech & Analytics

1. Fundraising is becoming more accessible because of social media reach.

The first nonprofit trend influencing the industry is social media’s influence on fundraising. As competition rises, technology is helping nonprofits reach out to donors in ways that are focused. Donors can now be reached on a local, national, and global level. Social platforms allow people to connect and share information from anywhere at any time. And, most platforms allow people to donate to causes.

For example, Facebook birthday fundraisers have gained more attention over time.  Users can now make posts redirecting to a cause they support. They can then encourage their network to donate on their behalf.  Within the first year of creating birthday fundraisers, Facebook users raised more than $300M for causes. As of now, Facebook allows you to choose a cause to donate from a list of 750,000 nonprofits. So, donors can now give to any cause at any time from anywhere.

2. Constituent Relationship Management systems & analytics will allow nonprofits to identify, segment, and engage donors more effectively.

The second nonprofit trend that is influencing the industry is the increased use of CRM systems and predictive analytics. As these tools advance, nonprofits are relying on them to find and engage donors. Fundraising teams, large and small alike, now have the tools to clearly organize donor data according to their preferences. This lets them strategically manage their fundraising.

Using predictive analytics, gift officers can gain insights on their donors and prospects. For example, they have the ability to learn about their donors’ propensity and capacity to give; their behavior; their personality; and their giving history. And, as they update the information they have on them, they can tweak their outreach. This will help organizations adapt to donors’ evolving interests. So, they will always remain relevant to them and be able to engage them purposefully.

Take the University of Maryland for example. Mary Beth Nibley, Director of Prospect Engagement, needed an easier way to manage her prospects. At the time, her team was managing prospects from Maryland’s Med school and school of social work. As a small group, they found it difficult to determine which prospects were worth pursuing. But, using predictive analytics, they found it easier to sort through their donor pool. So, they were able to segment their donors effectively and efficiently. With a CRM and predictive analytics, organizations can gain relevant donor information instantly. They also have the tools to appeal to donors in personalized ways.

3. Technology will enable nonprofits to stay personally connected with their donors, remotely.

Another nonprofit trend influencing organizations is the use of technology to connect with key donors. It’s becoming more and more important to engage donors in ways that are novel. Each donor wants to create change with significant impact and influence. So, they want to give not only to benefit communities, but also to reach the people with the most influence. In short, the CEO, or the face of the organization. Technology, in that sense, has allowed donors to connect with those channels more easily.

Take the Malala Fund for example. Patricia G. Eisner, former CDO of the Malala Fund, was able to connect with donors by doing more than sending out a personalized email or note. Using technology, the Fund was able to have Malala connect with her audience remotely. They were able to create and send personalized videos where Malala was able to address each donor individually. So, the messages weren’t just personal. They provided donors, especially major gift donors, an added incentive to take greater action, give more,  and inspire others to as well.

4. Apps and Tech Intermediaries will Re-Invigorate Donors to Give

The use of apps, and other tech intermediaries, to boost fundraising is also a rising nonprofit trend. As stated in the Giving USA 2019 report, the state of charitable giving in the United States is shifting. The number of non-donor households is continuing to increase. So, we’re experiencing a decline in mid-level donors. This is greatly impacting the revenue streams of nonprofits across the country.

So, in order to seamlessly engage donors, nonprofits are partnering with brands and services. In short, they’re creating new and easy ways for donors to give. For example, customers can now donate through apps like Lyft, Uber, and Venmo (among others). These options make it easier for nonprofits to interact with their donors and prospects. It’s also a more approachable and affordable way for donors to remain involved. So, as donors make purchases, they have the opportunity to round up the cost of their purchase so they can give. They also have a chance to give more specific amounts to organizations of their choice through these apps. The use of intermediaries will make it easier for nonprofits to gain a steady stream of gifts. They also have the potential to push donors towards everyday giving.

5. More Nonprofits are Moving Towards Crowdfunding

The last nonprofit trend that’s gaining traction is crowdfunding. Crowdfunding was, and is, primarily used for contributors to fund an initiative, online. Usually through a collection of small investments. However, crowdfunding is now projected to become an over  $90 billion industry by 2025, so it can be a valuable tool for fundraising.

Crowdfunding is beginning to help nonprofits raise money for specific projects or causes. It can also help nonprofits reach diverse audiences. This further enables them to meaningfully engage donors and spread messages that increase their impact. Additionally, projects funded on this platform can be shared via social media & can be linked to live giving portals. This encourages recurring giving and allows donors to engage directly with your organization.

Best Practices to Strengthen Your Fundraising

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Top 5 Major Donor Fundraising Strategies

major donor fundraising

Top 5 Major Donor Fundraising Strategies

December 9, 2019
Nandini Singh

In order to create an impact, you need the support and action of your donors. Major gift donors, in that sense, play an integral part in helping your organization create change. In a 2017 study conducted by the Fundraising Effectiveness Project, it was reported that 88% of gifts were contributed by 12% of donors. Now, fundraising fits well within the 80/20 rule. So, since it’s confirmed that the majority of gifts given come from a small percentage of donors, it’s clear that each donor must contribute substantial gifts. The question is: what are the best ways to find and cultivate relationships with major gift donors?

When it comes to major donor fundraising, you want to be able to pinpoint which donors are worth pursuing; forge and nurture relationships with them; and create the “ask”. Let’s explore the necessary steps you should take to create the best major donor fundraising strategy.

Major Donor Fundraising Strategies: Top 5 Ways to Enhance Your Efforts

1. Determine What Qualifies as a Major Gift for Your Organization

Before you identify, cultivate, and solicit gifts from major gift donors, it’s necessary for you to determine what qualifies as a major gift for your nonprofit. Major gifts (which are the largest monetary gifts your organization receives), as a donation type, are varied. In short, every organization determines the size of their major gifts differently.

This can be dependent on the size of your organization, the length of time it’s been around, and what you’re fundraising for. For example, a gift over $5k may be large for some organizations, such as a local theatre company. Meanwhile, other organizations may consider gifts over $100k to be major gifts, like a state university. To establish a major gift starting point, it’s important to evaluate and understand the largest gifts your organization has received in the past. It can also be helpful to identify your top individual donors and determine what their propensity and capacity to give is. This should be determined in relation to their giving history with your organization and organizations similar to yours. Additionally, you should make sure that your major gift range aligns with organizations within your industry. Adopting a similar major gift range ensures that your organization isn’t being unintentionally undervalued.

2. Identify Optimal Donors and Prospects

Before you can cultivate deep relationships with major gift donors, it’s important to understand who in your database, has major gift potential. That’s the next step in major donor fundraising: conducting a wealth screening and modeling your best donors.

Ask yourself: which of our donors has given the most in the past few years? Which of our donors give on a recurring basis? And, which of our donors displays a passion for our mission and our initiatives? Screenings help you pick up on key attributes like an individual’s wealth, income, lifestyle, and affinity. This allows you to find, segment, and prioritize your prospects and donors accordingly. So, you can identify what each individual’s propensity and capacity to spend is.

The next best practice in major donor fundraising is a major gift model. Once you know what your major donors look like, and once you’ve identified common traits among them, you gain a clearer impression of who to target. Using WealthEngine data in combination with information from your organization’s database, we can create a custom algorithm to determine who would be most likely to contribute major gifts to your organization. These can be people among your list of donors who haven’t been reached yet or prospective donors who exist beyond your database. Additionally, you can score prospects to see how they compare in relation to your best donors. Screening and modeling allow you to hone in on your most relevant donors. So, you can focus all your energy on developing long-standing relationships with them.

3. Personalize Your Outreach Strategy

Now that you’ve identified which donors have an ability and willingness to donate major gifts, it’s time for the next step: reaching out. One way to develop a relationship with major gift donors is to personalize your outreach. You can personalize your outreach through tailored messaging, creative touchpoints, and donor involvement in other areas of your organization.

When donors decide to contribute major gifts, they aren’t giving to your organization at random. They’re giving because they feel connected to the work you’re doing and want to make an impact by funding your services. So, by sending your donors messages that highlight their individual interests, you have an opportunity to bridge the gap between what they value, personally, and how your organization works in alignment with those values.

So, your organization can communicate with donors through standard channels like direct mail, email, or invitations to public events. You can also take your efforts a step further and generate personal ‘thank you’ videos; send major gift donors or prospects ‘insider’ updates; invite them to observe your projects as they come together; or even invite them to intimate events where they can meet with the CEO and senior staff. This gives them an opportunity to discuss upcoming initiatives they may have a vested interest in. Involving donors in other areas of your organization is an integral part of your major donor fundraising strategy. By inviting them to see your programs in action, they have a greater opportunity to deepen their passion and interest in the work you do.

4. Implement a Stewardship Program

The final step in your major donor fundraising strategy is to express gratitude for your donors. Once you’ve begun cultivating and nurturing relationships with major gift donors and prospects, it’s important to engage in stewardship. Donors are the catalysts for all your major goals. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to enhance the programs and services you have in place. So, if major gift donors aren’t treated as key players, they may not feel that the impact they’re making is valued.

Essentially, you want to continue communicating with your donors so you can effectively meet the gift intentions and expectations they’ve set out. Show your donors how their gift will be used and what kind of effect it will make on your cause. It’s also important to express thanks in multiple ways. You can do this in-person, publicly (in your newsletter or on your website), in a handwritten note, or on a phone call. Recognition like this will inspire major gift donors to give again and again. Not only are they doing something of value, but their contributions are also being put towards something actionable.

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Above all, make sure to follow up with your donors so they know how their gifts have been used. By showing them that you created something impactful because of their contributions, they’ll see themselves as agents for change. Now, and for the future.

 

WealthEngine Strengthens the Experience of its Integration and Grateful Patient Program (GPP) Clients with New Capabilities

WealthEngine Strengthens the Experience of its Integration and Grateful Patient Program (GPP) Clients with New Capabilities

December 9, 2019
WealthEngine

In the last major update made to WealthEngine9 (WE9) two weeks ago (9.1 release), we introduced new tools on our platform such as WealthSignal™, designed to enable prospect researchers and wealth managers to speed up their decisions on their best prospects. In this update, we have further strengthened our existing platform for improved external performance and introduced new capabilities for our integration and Grateful Patient Program (GPP) clients. 

Updates to WE Insights for Salesforce App

As part of this new release, updates have been made to the WE Insights for Salesforce App. Users can now append model scores to their contacts or leads directly within Salesforce CRM. 

Models created by your organization using the WealthEngine platform can be enabled using a few simple configuration steps. And, with more than 100 attributes on wealth, contact, giving, and demographic data, the WE Insights for Salesforce App, along with our platform, enables you to create precise target segments with higher response rates.

Grateful Patient Program (GPP) Clients

Automated screening files are now more accessible than ever, only in the new WE9 platform. Now, with the updates made to WE9, Grateful Patient Program (GPP) clients who regularly screen their influx of new patients will have screening files right at their fingertips. 

Whether your organization has done screenings previously or recently, both can be found under the new “My Profiles” section (previously known as “My Results”). This change requires no updates or efforts from users. The files delivered via sFTP will remain the same and will continue to work as it does now with WealthEngine 8.2. 

CRM/DMS Integrations

Users will now be directed to the new WE9 platform when they navigate from their CRM/DMS system (such as Salesforce) to WealthEngine to browse detailed profiles or for prospecting. 

All user data will be migrated to the new platform, so the change requires no updates or effort from our clients.  

Enhancements to WealthEngine APIs

New updates made to the WE9 platform have also made it easier for developers to integrate wealth insights into their workflows by further rationalizing WealthEngine APIs. Check out the updated developer documentation available here.

Updates made to the platform will have no impact on current workflows since the improvements are 100% backward compatible. 

With the updates and enhancements made to WE9, we’ve created a more seamless user experience that is sure to take your prospecting to new heights. 

Who’s Invited? What to Know About Auction Event Attendees

auction events

Who’s Invited? What to Know About Auction Event Attendees

December 3, 2019
WealthEngine

As your organization begins to plan its next auction event, there are a lot of moving pieces you’ll need to keep track of. From determining your venue and dining options to finding the right auction items, your focus needs to span several departments within your nonprofit.

But one thing that needs extra careful attention is your guest list. Who’s invited? Who on your list will make the largest impact by bidding on your items?

Planning your auction event means learning more about your attendees. Without them, your event won’t raise the funds needed to keep working toward your mission. That’s why we’ve compiled strategies you can use to learn about your attendees. These tips include:

  1. Conduct prospect research to learn about your attendees.
  2. Leverage registration software to gather attendee information.
  3. Procure items that appeal to attendees.
  4. Tailor your outreach and event based on attendee types.

The success of your auction event depends on learning key traits about your attendees and making them most of them. Let’s get started!

1. Conduct prospect research to learn about your attendees.

Part of learning about your auction guests means understanding the capacity with which they can contribute to your organization and what areas they like to support. Major donor prospects are excellent individuals to include on your guest list; just take the time to research them first.

Prospect research entails finding, understanding, and cultivating prospects with the greatest capacity and who have the highest chance of giving to your organization. All of this is based on wealth and affinity, meaning they don’t only have the capacity to donate, but they have a willingness to give.

To determine an individual’s affinity to give, you should look at:

  • Previous giving to nonprofits
  • Past interactions with your organization
  • Past nonprofit involvement
  • Lifestyle and interests

From there, you can leverage wealth indicators that speak to an individual’s capacity to give, which can include:

  • Real estate ownership
  • Profession
  • Size of gifts
  • And more!

These indicators combined should give you a good idea of major gift prospects to invite to your auction. Be sure to coordinate with your Major Gift Officer or development colleague in charge of major donors, to ensure you have a strategy and plan for engaging them at the actual event.

Once the event is up and running, work with your major gift officer to ensure there is personalized face-to-face outreach throughout the evening to build connections with them.

Executing on Major Gifts strategy for your auction attendees can substantially increase donations during the bidding and live appeal process. It also ensures you are working with your Major Gifts team to support without jeopardizing or conflicting with their longer term asks.

Be sure to incorporate prospect research into your learning process to get the most from your larger donor strategies.

2. Leverage registration software to gather attendee information.

Apart from identifying major gift prospects, your staff should also be focused on tailoring the event to be conscientious of individual attendees.

By leveraging robust mobile bidding and auction software, you can dramatically streamline the registration process to ensure you create a personalized and tailored guest experience. These include:

  • Food preferences
  • Dietary restrictions
  • Seating preferences
  • Surnames, preferred names, titles, and company affiliations
  • And more

If you simplify the process of accommodating each attendee’s preferences, you’ll leave your guests with a great impression of your organization and your event. 

Part of your event also revolves around building strong relationships with your guests so that they’ll not only enjoy your event, but build a connection for future engagement. This means making sure each interaction with your event is simple and easy.

Your registration software should allow you to:

  • Seamlessly capture guest information
  • Process credit cards and registration onsite
  • Help guests log into mobile bidding for the auction
  • Provide automated receipting

Creating a positive guest experience builds affinity and encourages them to continue participating in your fundraising. Using auction software will make the entire registration (and later the checkout) process simpler for everyone. Since all your attendee information will be tracked in the platform, registering guests and taking tickets will be easy. 

Cultivate long-lasting relationships with your attendees by leveraging robust auction software with registration features that simplify the process for everyone involved!

3. Procure items that appeal to attendees.

Once you’ve leveraged prospect research and gathered more information about your attendees, you’ll want to use this data to inform your item procurement process. Your organization should already have an item procurement team that finds ideal items that will encourage high bids.

Be sure your team studies the donor data you have available to gain a better understanding of which auction items will appeal to your guest list:

Interests

According to the OneCause guide to auction item procurement, you should understand what your supporters are interested in. People bid on items that are meaningful or useful to them. Consider the hobbies and interests of your supporter base, what’s hot in your area and at other auctions; this provides the big picture on which items they might find appealing.

Income Levels

You also need to choose items that fit into your attendees’ budget. Determine the various income levels of your supporters and ensure you have the right mix of items to meet your bidder capacity.

In order to procure items that appeal to your attendees (based on the data you’ve already gathered), your procurement team should:

  • Leverage personal connections to obtain donated items.
  • Look to businesses and retailers who may be willing to partner with your organization and donate their products or services.
  • Tell your nonprofit’s story and explain your organization and cause to increase the chances of receiving donations.

Your auction software should also allow you to track the status of your donations and keep all of your data in one centralized place. When you stay on top of your data and learn about what items your attendees would be most interested in, you’ll set your event up for success!

4. Tailor your outreach and event based on attendee types.

As a nonprofit organization, you’re probably already familiar with the idea of segmenting your donors. The same idea applies to your auction event attendees. According to the OneCause silent auction planning guide, you should take a multichannel marketing approach, using direct mail, email, social media, and other outlets for contacting and inviting attendees.

But beyond these channels, you should also tailor your outreach and event based on the registration data you’ve been gathering. In order to start forming individualized outreach strategies, look for information like:

  • First-time versus returning guests. Learn which guests are first-time attendees and differentiate them from guests who have previously attended your events. You’ll want to incorporate different outreach strategies for each grouping of individuals. For example, extend a welcome to first-time attendees and provide more information about your organization and its mission.
  • Connections between individuals. Be on the lookout for connections attendees might have with one another. For example, a small business owner who’s attending your auction might have sponsored an event for another group of attendees. Or, they might have attended a university together. Learn where people have connections with each other so you can make them more comfortable at your event.
  • Seating charts. Plan your seating chart so that each staff member involved with the event is seated at a table with at least one important prospect you’d like to cultivate a relationship with. This will ensure these attendees have a personalized and unique experience interacting with your organization and are more inclined to support it.

Running an auction takes a lot of planning and coordinating, especially for your staff. If you focus on forming deeper and more personal relationships with each of your prospects, they will feel valued and become more likely to support your organization.

Tailor your outreach and keep in mind the connections your attendees have with you and with one another. From there, you’ll be on your way to hosting a successful event and raising the funds you need.

Auctions are one of the most impactful nonprofit fundraising ideas you can leverage. When you procure the right items and understand your audience, you can raise a lot of funds in a short period of time. But it’s important to plan in advance and think about how you can make your attendees comfortable, which will lend itself to a positive guest experience and more support.

About the Author

Joshua Meyer brings over 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the Director of Marketing for OneCause. Currently, as a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Josh manages all of the firm’s marketing efforts. He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.

AI for Retail: Supercharge Every Stage of the Customer Journey

AI for Retail

AI for Retail: Supercharge Every Stage of the Customer Journey

November 29, 2019
Sharanya Venkatesh

Does AI sound like it’s all hype? For the retail sector, it turns out that AI can have many applications. Similarly, it can help you integrate processes across the value chain.

Why AI for Retail?

84% of customers say that experience is as important as products or services themselves. Furthermore, customer expectations are at an all-time high. Besides, these expectations are true for all touchpoints that your brand interacts with them on.

In order to deliver great customer experience, you have to be everywhere they are. Furthermore, you have to anticipate where they will be next. For instance, when retailers realized that Instagram was a great platform for sales, they improvised and found ways to sell even before the platform released its official feature.

The Future of Retail

Platforms are getting more fragmented. As a result, there are more new channels for customers to interact with you every day. This means that the competitive advantage you enjoy as a brand must translate to every touchpoint. Here are some retail statistics that give you an indication of where the future is headed:

  • 55% of all orders are now on mobile
  • There is an almost 70% increase in orders through social media
  • 26% of revenue comes from AI-driven product recommendations

Now that we understand where retail is headed in the near future, let’s look at how AI fits into the picture.

AI can help you in every step of the customer journey, right from your value chain to pre and post-purchase stages.

AI for the Retail Value Chain

  1. Efficient Order Management: From the time a customer places an order, your automated system can take all the steps to ensure that the fulfillment center has all the information they need in a matter of seconds.
  2. Better Inventory Planning: AI can help you automate your inventory planning. This means it can check, fulfill and restock goods so that you save time and money.

Pre-Purchase Experience

  1. AI for Retail Marketing: Programmatic advertising can save you time and make your ad budget more efficient. The automated system can also optimize bids for your campaigns within micro-seconds.
  2. Loyalty Programs: AI can help you collect, store and analyze vast amounts of data that stems from your loyalty programs. This means that you can automate customer upgrades, reward redemptions and more.
  3. AI-Powered Email Marketing: AI can help you refine your email marketing over time. As a result, you can enjoy increased open rates and engagement on emails.

Interested in learning how to practically implement AI in your email marketing efforts? Download our guide to learn more.

Storefront or Purchase Stage

  1. Data-Driven Personalization: Data generated through AI-powered retail systems can help you drive personalization. AI systems can hence process several data points on the fly and offer an experience that is tailored to the shopper’s interests.
  2. Real-Time Customization: Customer experience can be tailored in real-time through API. For example, as soon as a customer visits your website, you can show them products based on their browsing history. Furthermore, you can show them products in price ranges based on their wealth signals, etc.
  3. Increased Cross & Upselling: AI for retail recommendation engines can make a significant difference to the cart value of your customers. Making useful recommendations in a relevant and timely manner increases the possibility of upselling and cross-selling.

Post-Purchase Service

  1. 24/7 Customer Service: With AI for retail customer support, it is possible to take care of clients’ needs round the clock. Chatbots, automated phone, and email service take the pressure off of customer support teams. Further, they help reduce costs by answering common queries. Hence, you can only direct more complex needs to a representative.
  2. Better Insights for Continuous Improvement: With AI integrating into your CRM, your loyalty programs and customer support channels, you can get integrated data. Moreover, this data can deliver actionable insights that can help you refine the customer experience across every touchpoint.

Supercharge Your Retail Process Now

Interested in learning more about how technology can help you scale personalization?

Catch a recap of Accenture’s talk Making it Personal at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Watch Bob Ghafouri’s Session Now–>

Financial Services Planning and Budgeting: Get in Gear for the Next Year

financial services planning and budgeting

Financial Services Planning and Budgeting: Get in Gear for the Next Year

November 29, 2019
Sharanya Venkatesh

Are you still in the middle of your planning and budgeting for next year? Don’t panic. We have pulled together top tips for financial services planning and budgeting. ‘Tis the season not only for holiday cheer but also for pressure on planning ahead for the next year. Planning will set you up in order to start the new year off strong.

Some financial services companies may begin their planning and budgeting activities as early as Q3. Others begin with a few weeks left until the holidays.

If you’re in the latter group, here are the top 5 best practice tips to guide your planning and budgeting activities:

1. Start with Your Organization’s Goals

When it comes to financial services planning and budgeting, it is easy to over-complicate the process. You may find that you are planning for several contingencies and taking several factors into consideration.

Before you do this, you have to take a step back and analyze how many of these factors actually fit with your business goals. You need to be able to pare down to the basics and focus on the big picture.

For instance, let’s say your goal is to reduce customer churn over the next year. In order to do this, your plan and budget need to enable your client engagement team to offer personalized services to those clients who are most at risk.

2. Leverage Learnings from the Previous Year

Financial services planning and budgeting can seem especially tedious in comparison to other sectors. It needn’t actually be this way. When you begin from your business goal and then apply learnings, you will find that you are already several steps ahead.

In fact, you can use your previous year’s budget as a blueprint for this one. Gather your team to analyze what worked for them and where they found deficits. In doing so, you can rebalance your budget to areas that are most in need. Further, by validating these areas against your business goal, you can ensure that your budget is being allocated in the most efficient way.

3. Use Data-Modeling to Predict Outcomes

If you had a way to predict how much each department needs, you might think that this solves a significant portion of your planning and budgeting challenges.

You can, in fact, predict allocation by predicting customer behavior. Imagine if you could understand which customers will need extra attention in the following year. Similarly, if you could identify which ones are most likely to invest more with you. You could then actually plan your activities efficiently around these predictions.

This is possible through data-modeling. Models can help you identify customers based on steps in their journey. The predictive nature of these models can provide a lot of structure to your financial services planning and budgeting activities.

Want to know more about how models can benefit the financial services sector?

4. Plan with Foresight but Leave Room for Iteration

The power of prediction gives you a fair bit of foresight into your planning and budgeting. The more certainty you can have, the better it is for your plan. Having an air-tight plan can set you up for great success in the coming year.

However, most financial services professionals may overlook the need for iteration. While predictions can give you foresight, there are always unforeseen circumstances such as macro-economic instability. Due to this, it is better to include room in your plan for alterations as you go through the year.

5. Empower Your Marketing Team

Financial marketers may find that they are at loggerheads when it comes time for financial services planning and budgeting. As someone in charge of your budget, it will help you to set aside marketing dollars for campaigns and promotions.

Marketing goals need to align clearly with business goals. When this is the case, empowering your marketing team can help you ensure that you closer to achieving your goals. Over time, more marketing efforts have become measurable. This means that the marketing team can present results from their activities in the previous year and your allocation can be driven by this data.

Kick Your Plan into High Gear

By using a collaborative approach, you can make sure that you have received input from all relevant teams. Doing this also helps you speed things up as you have more contributors to the process. Secondly, having a flexible plan reduces the pressure on you to have every detail figured out. Doing this also gives you the ability to iterate as you go.

Planned Giving Tools: Screen & Model to Pinpoint Donors

planned giving tools

Planned Giving Tools: Screen & Model to Pinpoint Donors

November 27, 2019
Nandini Singh

Now that you know about the basics of planned giving, it’s only natural to wonder: how do I know who to approach? And once I’ve figured out who to approach, how do I know they’ll want to give? Let’s explore which planned giving tools you can use to identify your best donors and prospects for planned giving.

Identifying Donors for Planned Giving

No matter how big or small your database is, there are segments of donors within it who may be thinking about planned giving. So, it’s important to understand who in your database you should begin approaching for planned giving. All of this information can be gathered using two planned giving tools: wealth screenings and modeling.

Planned Giving Tool 1: Screening

The first planned giving tool in your arsenal is a wealth screening. By conducting a wealth screening, you can see which donors have the greatest propensity and capacity to give. Not only can you segment your audience based on basic demographic information such as age, but you can also append your database with wealth attributes. So, you can easily understand an individual’s giving history (what/how much they’ve donated in the past) and estimated giving capacity (what/how much they’re likely to give in the future). This will help you understand how to spark their interest and, as a result, expand your reach to donors just like them. For example, for planned giving, you could screen your donors for 3 key qualities:

1. Donor Age

When it comes to planned giving, it’s necessary to reach donors at the right time. Not only based on the average age most donors get approached for planned giving, but also based on the age the donors you’ve approached in the past. It’s important to ask yourself: what is the average age most of our existing donors we have approached about planned giving? For most nonprofits interested in boosting their planned giving base, they begin approaching donors in their 40s.

2. Giving History

Tracking individual giving history in your wealth screening can also be an advantageous planned giving tool. Bequests may not come from individuals who have given large gifts in the past. If anything, donors who have given on a recurring basis over many years may be the most likely to be interested in contributing a legacy gift. It’s these donors, who have forged a long-standing relationship with your organization, who will feel inclined to create change with your cause beyond their lifetime. So, it’s important to ask yourself: how often does this individual give to our organization? Have they attended our events? And, have they volunteered with in the past?

3. Propensity and Capacity to Give

As important as it is to identify individuals who have given in the past and who are receptive to discussing planned giving, the big question is: will they feel inclined to give? And even if they do, will they be able to contribute as much as they can?

But, wealth screening is just the first planned giving tool in your arsenal. If you want to expand your reach and initiate conversations with prospective donors, you can create a prospect profile. In short, by creating a planned giving model, you can identify prospects who look just like your best donors.

Planned Giving Tool 2: Planned Giving Model

The next planned giving tool in your arsenal is a planned giving model. Now that you understand the commonalities among your planned giving donors, you have a clearer impression of who to target.  For example, you may find that donors in your database who have decided to make legacy gifts are men over the age of 50 who have dogs. These are what your best planned giving donors look like. So, what if you want to reach prospective donors? But, not just any prospects. Prospects who will be just as likely as your existing donors to give.

By using predictive modeling, our data scientists employ WealthEngine data along with your data to create a unique, custom algorithm. Using this algorithm, we can predict who’s most likely to include your organization in their planned gifts. This model can help you score prospects to see how they fare against your best donors. You can then rank your prospect lists by order of similarity to your best. Essentially, with the planned giving model,  you can easily evaluate who, within your database (and beyond) are likely to contribute planned gifts. Not just in general, but to your organization specifically.

Using planned giving tools like screening and modeling allow you to gain greater insights into what makes your planned giving donors unique. You’ll be able to personalize your outreach and forge lasting connections with donors that inspire them to give.

Driving the Donor Journey: Guide to Descriptive Modeling

Boost your fundraising using WealthEngine’s modeling tool. Discover your next best donors you have yet to connect with.

Stay tuned to our planned giving series as we explore more related topics beyond planned giving tools. Next, we will explore the best ways to discuss planned giving with your donors.

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas to Find Your Next Best HNW Customer

financial advisor marketing ideas

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas to Find Your Next Best HNW Customer

November 27, 2019
Sharanya Venkatesh

Are you a financial advisor or wealth manager who has wondered how to foray into marketing? Or maybe you have wondered if marketing is the right thing for your business. If so, we have the answer. You are looking for your next best prospects and financial advisor marketing ideas can help you find them.

As you know, the financial services industry has its own brand of challenges. Issues may stem from increasing competition. Similarly, there could be pressure from building a high degree of trust with customers. Whether you’re in retail banking or in wealth management, these issues may ring true for everyone.

What can you do to grow your customer base?

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas

Before we begin to talk about ideas, it is first important to consider your financial services marketing strategy. Your strategy should fit with your overall business goals. For example, as a wealth manager or financial advisor, let’s say your goal is to have a personalized and niche luxury consulting business. This means that your marketing strategy will have to focus on HNWIs and UHNWIs. Your tone of voice must be personalized. Moreover, your advice must be tailored to customer needs. Your plan must take on a more concierge marketing type of approach.

Interested in learning more about marketing strategy in the financial sector?

Now, let’s talk about financial advisor marketing ideas. There is a lot you can do both online and offline.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

Here are three effective offline techniques you could use to encourage customer growth:

  1. Create curated events for customers. These events could educate them on financial topics. Alternatively, they could give your customers the opportunity to network with other business owners. Creating exclusive events that add value beyond your services will help build a lasting relationship with customers.
  2. Use direct mail in conjunction with other marketing efforts. Direct mail can have a great visual and tactile impact. Well-designed pieces of direct mail can be used as event invitations or sending thoughtful seasonal gifts. Doing this can help you remain top of mind with your customers. Further, sending them an interesting item that they can see in their everyday space could trigger conversations between them and their network about your company.
  3. Additionally, you can leverage your peer network’s inner circle to gain warm introductions to new prospects. When you receive a peer-to-peer introduction, there is a built-in sense of trust which shortens the lead time for customer acquisition.

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors or Wealth Managers

You should complement your offline techniques with online ones. This brings us to digital marketing for financial advisors. Here are the top five digital marketing ideas for wealth managers:

  1. Leverage LinkedIn– when it comes to social media, you may choose to have a presence on channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These might be good for you to widen your outreach, however, the most effective medium for you is LinkedIn. You can build professional credibility, seek recommendations from clients, grow your network and enjoy those peer-to-peer connections through this platform.
  2. Modernize your website- your website is your chance to make a digital first impression. Make sure that it is well-designed, optimized for different devices and most importantly optimized for search engines. Doing this allows you to rank highly on searches about wealth management, financial advisory and other relevant terms that could bring you leads.
  3. Feature testimonials & success stories- a proven track record inspires trust in customers and makes them more open to taking risks. Showcasing testimonials and success stories on your social media channels as well as your website helps you inspire trust among your customers.
  4. Use email marketing best practices- when it comes to reaching your customers via email, you may find that there are several different approaches. However, using email marketing best practices can make a difference. This means that your communication not only reaches your customers but also resonates with them.
  5. Leverage existing customers- most importantly, you must leverage your existing customers to help you find new ones.

How can you do this?

Follow our three-step financial advisor marketing plan.

Financial Advisor Marketing Plan- Find New Prospects Like Your Top Customers

  1. Screen your current customers- wealth screening allows you to add a breadth of information on customers. Understand their wealth, demographics, lifestyle, affinities and interests. With this, you can have more meaningful exchanges with them.
  2. Run a Look-Alike Model- Screening not only gives you rich insights but also provides a basis for analysis. Running a look-alike model helps you identify the top common traits among your best customers. These patterns can help you create more meaningful events.
  3. Find more prospects like them- You have now understood what your top customers are like. Hence, you can use these patterns as filters in your prospecting. This means that you will find new prospects who closely resemble your top customers. Thus, they are also likely to make decisions like your top customers.

You now have a much more targeted marketing plan to grow your customer base. You can now apply your financial advisor marketing ideas towards this base. In doing so you can enjoy a higher conversion rate on your campaigns while lowering your costs.

Find New Prospects Now

We can help you with every step of your financial advisor marketing plan. Request a demo today to see how you can kick off your three-step plan.

Request Demo

Why Everyday Should Be A #GivingTuesday

everyday giving

Why Everyday Should Be A #GivingTuesday

November 27, 2019
PV Bóccasam

The Power of #EverydayGiving!

As we approach #GivingTuesday this year, I’m reminded of how our primal instincts are awakened on days like Black Friday, Singles Day, Cyber Monday, and Prime Day, among others.  Why do brands take advantage of this phenomenon and how do we let days like these get the better of us? Is there something we can do to invert the power curve of these brands?  Perhaps these methods could potentially satisfy our impulse to feel good about ourselves, without the guilt of consumerism!

In this blog, let’s evaluate a few important concepts of “Everyday” Giving. Is there something special about habitual days of shopping or giving? Can sophisticated psychographics and neural-marketing techniques can be evoked for social good? While we continue to splurge on things that allow us to live comfortably, learn continuously, we should enable each one of us to  have a great impact on society at large.

It turns out, tricking our brain is quite easy to do. Brands take advantage of it all the time. In fact, a famous delayed gratification experiment, or ‘marshmallow test’ done at Stanford University in the mid 1960’s, explained how behavior could be predicted in children as young as 3-4 years old. The lesser known results from this experiment are, while only 15-25% passed the controlled gratification gate, participants increased their chances of NOT falling prey to their primal instincts as long as they were not directly exposed to the marshmallow (if they didn’t see it, kept it covered, or put it at a distance). The trick was to replace one habit with that of another.  

Walmart has a sign on their stores that says, “Everyday Savings!” – why isn’t this principle applicable to Giving? Why isn’t this method being used to generate billions of dollars in return? So, it’s time we turned the immense power of brand persuasion to our own social and philanthropic advantage. Below, let’s explore how simple it can be to incorporate this process in daily life with existing tools and systems. Every interaction, human-to-machine, human-to-human, machine-to-machine, and machine-to-human, can be turned into a virtuous giving cycle. In fact, some of us may already be doing this and never knew it. As a famous individual observed, the brush in the hand of a great painter is just incidental.

#EverydayGiving: How to Kick-Start this Cycle

Psychologists say doing something continually for 14 days helps retrain the brain to set a pattern. So, here are seven magnificent ideas to help you get in the swing of “Everyday” Giving:

1. Shopping

Your family or corporation can give every time they shop on Amazon. Smile.Amazon.com claims it has already given $145M+ to charities who register themselves on their web “smile” microsite. All shoppers have to do is to bookmark smile.amazon.com on their browser and set it to their favorite charity. Mine, for example, is Pratham USA. So, any time you are feeling indulgent and are ready to splurge, you have the opportunity to give back to your favorite charity. This makes a large powerful corporation support your causes with your patronage, every time you click. 

2. Hopping

You can give every time you order a ride from a ride sharing app! Lyft has a feature called “Roundup and Donate”. It’s a simple 3-second process where you can go to your settings and choose a cause among the charities listed. So, with every Lyft you take, you are uplifting someone, somewhere, all the time. These little round ups accumulate across tens of millions of ride-shares that happen every day. Let’s hope we can extend this idea to Ubereats, Postmates, and other apps.  

3. Tardiness

I am notoriously late for most meetings and I love hating that habit. So, we came up with a simple process at the office where we give every time someone is  late to a meeting. At WealthEngine, we have a generosity jar for $1/minute for every executive or employee who is late. We then take the accumulated money and award it back to  the individual who has been the most tardy (sometimes matched by the corporation), who can then donate it to their preferred cause. We always acknowledge them by saying, “thank you for being tardy, we love your generosity!”

4. Persistence

How about every time we hit “reply all”? There is a company email program that charges for every ‘reply all’ that is meaningless like “thx!” Or “+1” or “?”— trivial interactions that society must benefit from. You can extend this analogy to every moment someone tweets, posts on Facebook, or is active on Instagram.

5. Corporate Matching

Corporations like Salesforce give millions through their 1% pledge. There are also tons of other organizations such as WealthEngine, TOMS, and (RED) with similar movements. One way to take this further is by getting a commitment from every internal promotion, transfer, or hire. There is a socially conscious and responsible 1% given to the individual’s favorite passion.

6. Bills

How many times have you gotten a bill or a check in your mailbox that was $0.19 and you scratched your head thinking if compliance is not withstanding, why would a bank spend more dollars to let me know that I have $0.19 in an account that I never plan to return to? So, New WealthTech companies like Acorn attract the largest spenders in the economy—millennials. Not only are they asking for your spare change to invest (as little as $1), but they will also plant a tree every time you refer your friends who are environmentally conscious. Every time you open or close a bank account you should be able to donate to your favorite cause or charity. The power to leverage one’s networks to fuel the virtuous cycle of Learn-earn-save-give-spend-and-repeat, is a remarkable way to create a socially conscious giving culture.

7. Asset Buying/Selling

For the affluent, every time we buy, sell, stock, or trade our securities, every brokerage house should have a “Donate to the nearest $1000” option. So, if you sell $958 dollars of stock, $32 should go to the charity of your choice. With over $1.6T being traded daily, this could add up to a lot of charity dollars! You can extend this concept into when you sell or buy a house, and one time a year when you fill out the tax-form or renew your license every few years.

You all get the idea now— and I am sure as our community of readers, you have more ideas that can start the chain of #EverydayGiving to make it the hashtag of the year! 

Giving USA 2019 research notes that over $427B dollars gets raised every year, growing roughly at about 2% and never over our 2% as a percentage of GDP. It’s a shockingly large number given that ~70% of that are individual donors and the remaining are corporations and foundations. What is even more shocking is that for every $100 raised, only $4 is retained by that charity or nonprofit. The new donors added to the ‘giving tree’ across the United States  was roughly 86,000 new donors across a population of 325M living in about 180M households. Just a 1% change in behavior across these households in everyday living, can change the needle of giving and turbo-charge the virtuous cycle. 

Our famed data scientists at our WELabs tell me that our data and models suggest that if we just enabled these seven magnificent ideas and believed a $20/month across 180M households and adjusted for inflation and cyclical spike in spends for #BackToSchool, #Christmas, #Thanksgiving spends, that we can drive upwards of $6 trillion annualized dollars for #EverydayGiving! As they say: a penny saved is a penny earned!

That is the power of the collective subconscious! So, let’s start making a habit of giving every day. 

#EverydayGiving