Viken Mikaelian

GiftPlanning.Net and GiftPlanning.Org

Viken Mikaelian  

Can I boast?  It is my blog, you know!

One of the most strategic business decisions we ever made was to acquire the domain PlannedGiving.Com a few years ago. The second and third smartest were to purchase PlannedGiving.Net and PlannedGiving.Org. We use these three golden domains to maximize search engine optimization for our clients. It is why we consistently rank No. 1 on Google searches.

These domains did not come cheap and required skillful negotiating. Our competitors were not happy. In fact, they even started advising their clients to change from using the term “planned giving” to “gift planning”.

Guess what. We recently purchased two more golden domains: GiftPlanning.Net and GiftPlanning.Org. It took over a year of negotiating.

As a client, your planned giving website is currently hosted under PlannedGiving.Org.  You will soon have the option to have it hosted under GiftPlanning.Org instead. Our team will be available to help you decide what’s the best strategy for you.

We offer choices, not cookie-cutter solutions.

Steve Perry

Is a Planned Giving Website Worth the Money?

Steve Perry  

An Opinion From a Planned Giving Officer

The other day a colleague from another nonprofit, a fairly small one, told me he was leaning away from spending money on a new planned giving website. This is not the first development person I’ve heard struggle with this decision. They have their reasons:

  • limited budget
  • consultants who advise allocating funds elsewhere
  • the never-ending priority for current cash
  • trustees/directors who want to see metrics that websites can’t deliver

However, for an organization trying to build their endowment, a planned giving website is not an add-on to your marketing plan. It’s the hub. A planned giving website is a must. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

Let Testimonials Say What You Can’t

Viken Mikaelian  

“What’s the difference between advertising and public relations? In advertising, you tell your audience how great you are. In public relations, you get someone else to  tell them the same thing.”

Fundraisers, like other marketers, face skepticism and resistance nowadays when they make a direct statement about the worthiness of their organization. Prospects feel they have been fooled so many times by government, corporations and non-profits that the first response to any straight-out, first person message is distrust. Before you can get prospects to listen to your recitation of your organization’s accomplishments and needs, you have to expend a lot of persuasive energy to get past their defenses. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

Insights From 30+ Years in Planned Giving …

Viken Mikaelian  

My Mindset.

I’m curious by nature. I often have my nose buried in marketing plans and pieces from the planned giving world, and I can’t help but ask questions: “Why are they suggesting this tactic?” “Why are they focusing on this detail?” “How do they envision this working?” Unfortunately (though not surprisingly), the creators of these materials can’t provide satisfying answers to my curious questions.

Early in my career I was a sought-after marketing and communications guru. When I entered the planned giving world, I quickly learned a sad truth: While these planned giving vendors knew the lingo of their industry, they didn’t know the basics of communication. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

Philanthropy Under Trump / Webinar

Viken Mikaelian  

Andrew J. Gray, CPA, Jeff Comfort, with Viken Mikaelian

Trump’s coming.

Whether that brings joy or fear to your heart, one thing it’s guaranteed to bring to all of us is change.

Our president-elect’s proposed changes to the tax code are going to affect philanthropy. If you want to know how, this webinar is for you.

We’ll cover:

  • Trump’s plan: the bad news for charities
  • Trump’s plan: the good news for charities
  • What donors think
  • The path of Trump’s plan after inauguration day
  • A detailed look at the proposed tax code changes that will affect charitable deductions
  • What can nonprofit executives do in the meantime, until we know what’s happening?

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017, 2 PM EST. Space is limited. 

We will revisit this topic again mid summer.


Viken Mikaelian

Tell Your Heart Surgeon to Go Away

Viken Mikaelian  

Money has a way of showing up when people see the need for it.

In my entire career in the planned giving business, I have consistently heard, “…but my budget has been cut back this year.” It’s the same story every year, no matter what the economy’s doing.

It’s sad, because when planned giving budgets are cut, the long-term growth of the organization suffers. The key word here is “long-term.” You get it, but most do not. Or they get it on an intellectual level but don’t internalize it.

But it is also your fault. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

On Productivity, Planned Giving and Your Career

Viken Mikaelian  

Two informal surveys of ours indicate that those who dabble even a little bit in planned giving do significantly better in their careers than those who do not. Actually, forget about our surveys and think about this logically. Planned giving is a proactive field. It involves foresight and thoughtful long-term planning for the future. This is different from annual giving which is more about addressing urgency. And, as we know, in almost any field, those in charge of long-term planning are compensated better than those serving immediate needs.

Here are some tips on getting your career energized. Read over them, then put them into action straight away. Continue reading