Posts tagged ‘Viken Mikaelian’

January 10, 2013

Special Report: Are You Ready for 2013? These FREE Resources Will Help

When Congress recently adopted the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, it had an immediate impact on the nonprofit sector. The new law provides some opportunities and challenges. Are you ready for both in 2013?

I’ve already written two posts to provide some useful insights:

Now, Viken Mikaelian and Brian Sagrestano, JD, CFRE, of PlannedGiving.Com, are offering a free webinar on Wednesday, January 16, at 2:00 PM (EST). “What to Tell Your Prospects” will explore:

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November 19, 2012

“Isn’t it Better to Give and Receive?”

While reading a local newspaper, I came across an advertisement from a national nonprofit organization. The headline in the ad read:

Isn’t it Better to Give and Receive? — [Name of organization deleted] Life Income Plans”

I liked the mildly clever twist on a common phrase. So, I took a moment to read the text that followed:

My dad and I have that special father/daughter relationship you read about. So while I know he needs some extra cash to make life more comfortable, I don’t want to insult him by giving him checks all the time.

I’ve decided to give this dear, generous, wonderful man a gift annuity from [name of organization deleted]. It accomplishes everything I want in one simple gift. He will receive a partially tax-free stream of income for the rest of his life, and I won’t have to embarrass either of us, because [name of organization deleted] will send the checks directly to him. I will receive an income tax deduction on a portion of the gift in the year in which I make the gift.

I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve done the right thing for my Dad, and for [name of organization deleted].

What could be better? We give and we receive, it’s the perfect partnership.”

The ad included a sample gift annuity illustration for a $50,000 gift for an 80 year old annuitant. The ad also included a photograph of a middle-age woman. In addition, it included a generic development-office email address, development-office mailing address, and 800 telephone number.

While I want to focus on the story told in the ad, I do want to also mention that the ad would have been stronger if the organization had included the name of a specific contact person. Prospective donors are more likely to email, mail, or call a named individual rather than a faceless institution.

Ok, let’s look at the story.

The ad told a terrific, seemingly heartfelt story. However, I was immediately suspicious that the story was a fiction. The photo of the woman, presumably the “daughter” from the story, had that stock-photo look to it. No names, not even simply first names, were used in the story. The story also did not mention anything related to the organization’s mission making it seem like a product pitch.

So, I called the organization’s head of planned giving to learn more about the ad. She was kind enough to take the time to speak with me which I greatly appreciate.

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November 4, 2011

Is it Time to Dump “Planned Giving”?

As we all work to promote planned giving, many in the nonprofit sector have questioned whether or not the very term “planned giving” can be replaced by something more effective.

Greg Warner, President at MarketSmart, started an interesting discussion a couple weeks ago on the Legacy/Estate/Gift Planning and Planned Giving Professionals Group on LinkedIn. Warner asked:

Since most donors are not familiar with the term ‘planned giving,’ what other terms or phrases should we use to market planned gifts?”

The question stimulated a lively discussion.

The nonprofit sector has grown tired of the term “planned giving,” thinks of it as inelegant, or recognizes that very few people understand what the term means. As happens periodically, the nonprofit sector is searching for a new, more comfortable descriptive label. And, there is some validity to the concerns the sector has about the term.

The Stelter Company conducted a survey that I cite in my book, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing, that found only 37 percent of Americans over the age of 30 have a familiarity with the term “planned giving.” We have no way of knowing what percentage of those claiming familiarity really, in fact, know what the term means.

Those who responded to Warner’s question suggested several alternatives to “planned giving.” However, none of the suggested replacement terms represents a perfect solution. So, what should the nonprofit sector do? Should we keep or dump the term “planned giving”?

My friend Viken Mikaelian, Founder of PlannedGiving.Com, has done a comparison of the terms “planned giving” and “gift planning.” He discovered that, on Google, the words “gift planning” are out-searched 100-to-1 by the words “planned giving.” In a search of Google’s digital library of over 13 million books, “planned giving” is far and away the more popular term when compared to “gift planning.”

Mikaelian concludes, “So if you believe in search engine optimization (SEO) for your planned giving website, ‘planned giving’ is a better choice.” You can read Mikaelian’s full report here.

I decided to conduct my own test. I Googled the various terms suggested by those who responded to Warner’s question. I wanted to see how many results would be found for each term. Here’s what I discovered:

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