Marketing and Communications

Keep Calm and Market On: Measuring ROI of Planned Gift Marketing

James Preston

Friday, October 4, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.


How do you measure the results of marketing planned gifts at a major university? In 2018, the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) planned giving office enlisted graduate students in the MU Truman School of Public Administration to help determine the historic return on investment of MU’s planned giving marketing. This presentation will share the results of the project, the impact of an investment in planned giving marketing, a comparison of the results at MU against that of a benchmark institution and insights for future planning gained through the study.

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn a basic method for measuring the historic ROI of a planned giving marketing program.
  2. Learn a process for showing the effectiveness of planned giving marketing efforts.
  3. Learn a way to justify a planned giving marketing program to stakeholders from an ROI perspective.


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James Preston

Assistant Executive Director, Office of Gift Planning and Regional Advancement, University of Missouri 

James Preston is an Assistant Executive Director for the Office of Gift Planning and Regional Advancement at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri. He has been with the University since 2005. Preston has worked with planned giving donors and directed related marketing programs for a number of organizations over the years. James has a background in public relations, marketing, publication design and development in a variety of settings and has served in numerous leadership roles in higher education and church-related organizations. James holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in advertising design from Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri. He also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, and the Doctor of Ministry degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Kansas City, Missouri. Preston lives in Jefferson City, Missouri, with his wife, Rachael. They have three adult children.