The planned giving industry assumes that donor stories are an effective way to inspire other donors and to increase engagement, including response, in marketing materials. But what is it about donor stories that inspires prospective donors to make gifts? Could certain donor stories have the opposite effect and decrease engagement and response?
To date there has been no formal, large-scale research study conducted on planned giving marketing materials to support or counter those assumptions - until now. The Pentera research study to be presented analyzes two key e-mail metrics: The click-through rate and the response rate from tens of thousands of eNewsletters that went to millions of prospective donors over several years. The study includes the surprising key finding that certain types of donor stories can actually decrease response rates. Based on the findings of the study, we will recommend when to use donor stories in marketing materials and when not to as well as what types to avoid. Guidelines are presented on how to write effective donor stories and donor blurbs to get the best response rates possible.
Claudine A. Donikian, JD, MBA
President & CEO, Pentera, Inc.
Claudine A. Donikian, JD, MBA, has been the president/ CEO and chief marketing officer of Pentera, Inc. since 2010 and is the first woman CEO in the planned giving marketing industry. Regarded as a top expert in the field, Claudine is a sought-after speaker and keynote speaker on the planned giving and AFP circuits and has presented new research studies at numerous national conferences as well as at the AFP International conference. As the chief marketing officer, she is the editor-in-chief for client marketing content and personally consults with a select group of Pentera's clients on their marketing strategy and execution. One of Claudine's professional areas of expertise is women in philanthropy, and she served as a member of the advisory board for the prestigious Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy for seven years and is also a recent member of the board of directors of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP).
Claudine oversees all aspects of Pentera's business and marketing strategies as well as new product development, with an emphasis on digital marketing, and she served on the Direct Marketing Association's
Digital Innovation Committee. Under her leadership, the interactive department and client base has increased by 500%.
Claudine graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with highest distinction from Indiana University, received an MA in French from New York University, and holds a JD and an MBA from Boston College. She serves as a governor-appointed member on the board of directors of the Massachusetts Children's Trust Fund (a child abuse prevention agency) and has served on the boards of directors for the Brookview House (which provides housing for homeless women and children) and of the Philanthropic Planning Group of Greater New York in Manhattan (PPGGNY). She is an active member of CGP, PGGNE, and PPGGNY. Fluent in French, Claudine has also taught French for colleges, corporations, and adult education centers, where she was regarded as one of the top motivating teachers.
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