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[VIDEO] Why you should never stop fundraising to this group of lapsed donors, says Professor Russell James

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There's a certain group of lapsed donors who should ALWAYS receive your fundraising materials. Don't segment them out of your communications just because they've stopped giving. Watch the 3-minute video clip or read the transcript below to learn who these donors are and what's the "magic age" from Professor Russell James, PhD, JD, CFP®. 

"Age stratification plus drip marketing will give you your most powerful results."

~Prof Russell James

This video clip was taken from the Q&A session of Tom Ahern's mega webinar, How to Market Bequests: The Delicate (tho Highly Lucrative) Art of Asking for the Final Gift. Tom and Russell answered 97 questions from awesome webinar attendees. Watch this video for one of the questions asked.

Don't miss the next webinar by Tom Ahern. Sign up for Tom's fabulous newsletter ... and subscribe to The Fundraising Writing newsletter. ALSO: Connect with Prof Russell James on LinkedIn. If you do, he'll message you a wealth of bequest fundraising resources you'll absolutely adore. 💛


Transcript of Video Clip:


Thank you. And let me get one more question, and then we'll let you go: "Can you explain again how drip marketing is affected by the age range of your target donor group? We have mostly older donors."


Well, congratulations on that. Yes, drip marketing works for any sort of space, but it is most critical, most important for your oldest friends. And let me explain why that is. It is not only the fact that the will documents that actually transfer dollars to charity tend to be signed in the 80s, 90s, and older.


But it is also the case that, that oftentimes, in those last five years of life, let's say especially the last couple of years of life, those individuals who will actually transfer dollars to charity at death, they actually stopped giving, they definitely stopped volunteering, that is the normal process that happens in those last five years of life.


And we have charities that communicate with their oldest friends, based strictly upon recency of donation. Now, that is the magic formula for you to go completely radio silent right at the critical moment of decision. It's not just wrong, it's sort of the opposite of what works, it is the worst possible strategy.


And honestly, it's the strategy that most charities use, you've got to age stratify once what however much money you have, you pick your magic age, maybe it's 75, maybe you call it 80, maybe it's 70. Once they reach that magic age, if you've got someone who has a lifetime of connection with your organization, you never stop communicating with them. You've got to stay top of the mind.


Because we know from data and this comes from data from Australia, that if you don't communicate, if you don't send anything to that donor within their last two years of life, even if they're in your legacy society, the loss rate on those donors more than doubles, it goes from about a 25% loss rate to over a 50% loss rate if you don't communicate with them in their last two years of life.


So absolutely, age stratification combined with drip marketing is going to give you your most powerful results. And just a quick example here from a national sample of wheel documents in Australia, 78% of the dollars were transferred by will documents signed in the 80s, 90s, and older. It's not only that people live that long. It is also that wealth lives that long, wealthy people live longer than others.


And so you got to start thinking about age in different terms. And so we've got to stay with folks all the way through to the end, because there's lots of fluidity in the charitable component of an estate plan, especially as age advances and especially as we're in those last three to five years of life.


Professor James, thank you so much. We're gonna let you go off to class, and we're going to stay on with Tom and get to the rest of the questions. So thank you for being with us.


Thanks, everybody.


Thank you, Russell. 


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