Jan 2017 AFR: 2.4%
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The Planned Giving Blog

Authored by Kristen Schultz Jaarda, Executive Vice President of Crescendo Interactive, our blog discusses a wide variety of planned giving topics including marketing strategies, tax and legal developments, gift planning success stories, best practices and more.

Kristen specializes in charitable tax planning and online marketing for planned gifts. She is responsible for client education and consultation for Crescendo's web, email and software services. She is a member of the ACGA board of directors, the Planned Giving Today editorial advisory board and serves with a number of other charitable organizations.

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How Do the Sender?s Name and Custom Subject Lines Impact Email Performance?

How Do the Sender?s Name and Custom Subject Lines Impact Email Performance?

As part of Crescendo's recent email marketing study, we designed three emails for Michigan Tech University.  The emails used the same design and similar subject lines focusing on bequests. Our goal was to test different sender names and a customized version of the subject line. Using...

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How Do Colors and Fonts Impact Fundraising Email Results?

How Do Colors and Fonts Impact Fundraising Email Results?

As part of Crescendo's recent email study, we tested the use of colors and fonts and how they impacted email results.  Using the same subject line, “Protect Your Loved Ones and Create Your Legacy,” we sent two similar emails on June 15 for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) just...

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Video vs. Web Page Call to Action -- Which Works Better?

Video vs. Web Page Call to Action -- Which Works Better?

As part of Crescendo's recent email study, we tested the effectiveness of online calls to action.  Using the same subject line and design, along with similar content, we sent two emails for the University of South Florida (USF) to evaluate the click-through-rate (CTR) of a web page...

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What is the Best Option? Image & Text vs. Image-Only Email

What is the Best Option? Image & Text vs. Image-Only Email

When testing an image & text email against an image-only email as part of Crescendo's recent email study, we saw mixed results. While mobile-friendly email we designed for the University of New Hampshire had a higher click-through-rate (CTR), one of the image-only emails we designed for Hoag...

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Image & Text Email vs. Image-Only Email (Part 2)

Image & Text Email vs. Image-Only Email (Part 2)

This is a follow-up to last week's post discussing the results of a test conducted as part of Crescendo's 2016 email study.  Using the same subject line, “Protect Your Loved Ones and Create Your Legacy,” we ran another test comparing an image & text email vs. an image-only email...

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Image & Text Email vs. Image-Only Email -- Which Works Better for Planned Gifts?

Image & Text Email vs. Image-Only Email -- Which Works Better for Planned Gifts?

As part of Crescendo's 2016 study Experiments in Email Marketing, we created an email to market Hoag Hospital Foundation's free downloadable wills guide. Our goal in this A/B test was to evaluate CTR for wills guide offers. We sent two emails with different designs but with the same subject...

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What Is the Best Way to Market IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts by Email?

What Is the Best Way to Market IRA Charitable Rollover Gifts by Email?

As part of Crescendo's 2016 study, Experiments in Email Marketing, Crescendo performed a series of email tests to determine the best way to market the IRA charitable rollover.  After the IRA charitable rollover became permanent, Oklahoma City Community Foundation (OCCF) asked Crescendo to...

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What Type of Language in Subject Lines Generates High Open Rates for Planned Gifts?

What Type of Language in Subject Lines Generates High Open Rates for Planned Gifts?

As part of Crescendo's 2016 email study, we tested the performance of common planning and planned giving terms in subject lines.  On April 15, we sent two emails with similar designs comparing the words “bequest” and “estate plan” in the subject line and content area. We...

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How to Include Planned Gifts on #GivingTuesday

How to Include Planned Gifts on #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving.  The day has become a movement supporting philanthropy with thousands of charities participating and encouraging their donors to give.  This year, #GivingTuesday takes place on November...

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What is the Best Day/Time to Email Your Donors?

What is the Best Day/Time to Email Your Donors?

As part of Crescendo's 2016 email study, Priests of the Sacred Heart asked us to work on an email marketing charitable gift annuities to their donors. We wanted to use this email to evaluate CTR and how subscribers respond to emails based on the date and/or time they were delivered.Beginning on...

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Planned Giving Offers - What Gets the Best Results?

Planned Giving Offers - What Gets the Best Results?

I continue to cover results from Crescendo's 2016 email study.  On May 3, we sent four simultaneous emails — an A/B/C/D test — for Hoag Hospital Foundation (Hoag) with similar subject lines and designs but with different offers: free bequest brochure, free wills guide, free...

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Personal Satisfaction vs. Tax Benefits -- Which is More Compelling to Your Donors?

Personal Satisfaction vs. Tax Benefits -- Which is More Compelling to Your Donors?

In March of 2016, Crescendo designed an extended postcard for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to market gifts of real estate. UNH believed that it had a unique opportunity to engage supporters who owned real estate both as personal residences and as investment properties. We designed two...

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How Do Email Links Impact Click-Through Rates?

How Do Email Links Impact Click-Through Rates?

As part of its 2016 email study, Experiments in Email Marketing:  Principles of Effective Emails Based on A/B Testing, Crescendo performed a test evaluating the click-through rate of an email with fewer links versus and email with multiple links.  We designed two emails for...

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Email is Still the Most Important Electronic Method for Reaching Your Donors

Email is Still the Most Important Electronic Method for Reaching Your Donors

Crescendo just released its 2016 study sharing the results of A/B tests for charity emails.  Have you thought about the best ways to increase your email performance and response rates? What is the impact of colors and fonts on readability for your fundraising emails? How do donors respond to...

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GiftLegacy Awards Announced at PPGC 2016

GiftLegacy Awards Announced at PPGC 2016

Crescendo celebrated its annual Practical Planned Giving Conference on September 26th and 27th in Chicago. It was a great event attended by friends from all across the nation. They gathered to hear keynote speakers Sarah Durham and Jeff Comfort and an excellent line-up of the nation's top...

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The End of the Year is Approaching. . . Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

The End of the Year is Approaching. . . Do You Have a Marketing Plan?

The end of the year is nearly upon us and if you are like most charities, you still have fundraising goals that need to be met before the year is over. Have you thought about your plan for marketing end of year gifts? Here are some ideas to consider in the last quarter of the year:1. Outright...

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IRS Creates Alternative to Annuity Trust 5% Test

IRS Creates Alternative to Annuity Trust 5% Test

The 5% Probability Test was instituted by Rev. Rul. 77-374 to reduce the risk of exhausting the annuity trust and to protect the charitable remainder. Under the test, a trust will not qualify if there is a greater than 5% probability that the trust corpus will be exhausted prior to the death of the...

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How to Handle a

How to Handle a "Lost Annuitant"

If your organization offers charitable gift annuities, chances are you have encountered the issue of a “lost annuitant.” A charity often becomes aware of a “lost annuitant” when checks remain uncashed for a period of time or are returned due to a change of address. If you are...

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The How and Why of Planned Gift Substantiation

The How and Why of Planned Gift Substantiation

When it comes to planned gifts, the substantiation requirements depend on the gift option. For some gifts the rules are clear, while for others there are gray areas that leave it up to the charity whether something needs to be sent. Regardless, it is always a good practice to follow-up with and...

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Easy Ways to Show Your Donors You Care

Easy Ways to Show Your Donors You Care

Donor stewardship becomes even more important if you consider that most of the planned gifts we are seeing today are revocable. If the vast majority of planned gifts are charitable bequests, and bequest donors still have the opportunity to change their minds, it becomes imperative that your...

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