SUCCESS STORY: ANGELIC APPROACH

How do you explain complicated planned giving strategies to ordinary people who don’t have a wealth of financial knowledge? That was the heart of the challenge facing the Catholic Community Foundation, the planned-giving arm of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

The CCF manages endowments funds for parishes, charities, and other organizations with the Archdiocese, and its messages needed to compete for attention among the many appeals local Catholics received from those groups. Complicating the issue was the fact that planned giving strategies such as charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts tend to be complex financial vehicles that senior citizens and others with money to give might find confusing or intimidating.

So the CCF turned to Scott Flood Writing and Kelly Stanley Design to come up with an effective, affordable way to spread the message. Recognizing that planned giving strategies and endowments made it possible for individuals to support their favorite charities and causes in perpetuity, the pair struck upon a theme that resonated with the audience: Be An Angel Forever. The theme was employed in a variety of tactics, all build around the concept that making a planned gift to an endowment meant that the giver could continue to benefit the recipient long after death (when, presumably, he or she would be in heaven, among the angels).

The materials featured classic designs using familiar woodcuts and line drawings of angels, which added elegance and a strong spiritual message while providing the low-cost advantages of public domain artwork. Inside, the pieces provided simple descriptions of each giving strategy, along with scenarios describing how fictional parishioners used them. An example: “Carol and Ted Dabrowski have been active members of their parish for 30 years, and want to help ensure the parish’s continued financial health. In their wills, they took steps to ensure their daughter Kate’s financial security and to make bequests to other family members. Then, they left 75 percent of the residue (the amount remaining after those bequests) of their estate to their parish endowment. In this way, they provided for the needs of their family — and those of the parish which has been the center of their spiritual and family lives.”

The campaign connected with its audience and was credited with substantially increasing the amount of funds under CCF management.

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