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 emails, sent on March 29, to follow up with postcard recipients and reinforce UNH’s print marketing message.
Our goal was to evaluate open rates based on a test of two emails sent with the same design and content where only the subject lines differed. Both emails discussed real estate gift strategies. To evaluate whether donors responded favorably to messaging on tax benefits, one subject line mentioned tax benefits, while the other focused on personal satisfaction.
In Version A, the subject line read “Maximize satisfaction from your property while supporting UNH.” This email had a 21.04% open rate. Version A outperformed Version B, which utilized the subject line “Enjoy huge tax benefits from your property while supporting UNH.” Version B had an open rate of 20.87%.
While both email open rates were excellent (above 20%), the subject line with the focus on the tax benefit of giving had a slightly lower open rate (20.87% vs. 21.04%). The takeaway here is that tax incentives don’t necessarily boost a donor’s interest in relation to other benefits. The satisfaction a donor finds in supporting a cause they care about can provide a stronger motivation for giving. Contact Crescendo for more tips on effective email marketing. You can view the results of our full email study here.
About Kristen Schultz Jaarda, JD, LLM
Kristen Schultz Jaarda is Executive Vice President of Crescendo Interactive, Inc. She specializes in charitable tax planning and online marketing for planned gifts. She is responsible for client education and leads Crescendo's marketing services and support team. She is a nationally recognized speaker, conducts seminars nationwide and is a principal faculty member of GiftCollege.
Kristen serves as a board member for the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) and as a member of the ACGA Rates and State Regulations Committees, Editorial Advisory Board member for Planned Giving Today, Committee Member for the ABA Charitable Planning and Organization's Group, past Legislative Chair and a board member for the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning of Greater Los Angeles (PPP-LA), a member of the Ventura County Planned Giving Council and a committee member and volunteer for several California charities. She writes weekly for CrescendoTweet and her planned giving blog.
Previously, Kristen served as Counsel to the Assistant Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C. and was Oversight Counsel to the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary. Prior to that, she worked in a public affairs law practice. Kristen graduated from UCLA School of Law where she was Law Review Editor. She completed her Tax LL.M. with honors at Loyola School of Law. Kristen is a member of the California State Bar, D.C. Bar and the Maryland State Bar.