Senior Marketing – These ideas work

November 3, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

As people get older and start thinking about supporting worthwhile causes with donations, bequests or charitable gift annuities (CGAs), fundraisers are finding ways to tap into that source.

Some are doing it better than others.

During the recent National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC) conference and exposition, representatives of the Sharpe Group discussed what works in marketing to seniors for donations.

These work:

Print vs. electronic: Seniors are the last adaptors for nearly everything. They are less apt to be online and they are much less comfortable in the online space. Still, print materials must be clear and easy to read for people who probably don’t have the greatest vision. Keep type from 13 to 16-point, use high-contrast colors, if any, and write to an 8th or 9th grade education level.

Dedicated planned giving newsletters: Focus on estate planning education and use a soft sell.

A steady, consistent effort: This is sometimes called drip marketing — “Remember (Our Organization) in your will.”

Regular, periodic mailings.

Buck slips.

Recognizing senior donors at annual meetings and conferences and in annual reports.

Messages that suggest that charitable giving is a social norm.

Sharing stories. Doing this makes donors come alive. This includes stories about living bequest expectancies, including photos, and “Join me” letters. Use easy-to-understand terms.