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Click on the links below to access the full articles from our council e-newsletter.  The e-newsletter is distributed three times a year (March, June and September).  If you are interested in providing an article for future issues, please email info@pgcgp.org.

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  • Friday, September 10, 2021 11:11 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Delia G. Perez, CFRE, CAP®

    At long last we welcome autumn after a seemingly endless hot and humid summer! Hopefully, you took advantage of some much-needed down time to reconnect with family and friends. As students return to in-person classes, we also urge you to take advantage of the PGCGP educational curriculum and apply your efforts to improve overall philanthropic results on behalf of the causes we serve.

    We applaud everyone’s collective efforts to hasten a return to “normal” with diligent vaccination measures and mask-wearing protocol as needed. We are optimistic about resuming in-person networking activities and learning opportunities in Philadelphia, and hope to host our premier educational experience, the Planned Giving Day Conference at the Union League on October 27th 2021. In the interim, please join us for upcoming virtual educational sessions to learn from our expert presenters.

    I also encourage you to explore ways to get the most from your PGCGP membership: 

    • Attend our annual premier educational event, the Planned Giving Day Conference, on October 27th 2021 at the Union League in Philadelphia.
    • Register for the two-day Planned Giving Course in April 2022 as a good introduction to our field and the half-day summary program on October 26th 2021.
    • Volunteer your time and expertise. Get involved with PGCGP committees to ensure the success of PGCGP program offerings while also strengthening your professional skills.
    • Get acquainted with our sponsors and take advantage of the quality services and products they provide to better serve our planned giving community. We remain deeply grateful for our ongoing partnerships with our sponsors.

    Have a healthy and productive autumn!

  • Friday, September 10, 2021 11:07 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Colleen Becht-Folz, CFRE®, CAP®

    Cases such as William Robertson, et. al v. Princeton University, et al., Tennessee Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy v. Vanderbilt, and locally, The Barnes Foundation’s Petition to the Orphan’s Court to Change Settlor’s Intent have all acted as cautionary tales to nonprofit organizations and donors, alike. The outcomes have defined donor intent in the nonprofit sector and changed the discourse between charity and donor to ensure that gifts are used to both benefit the charitable mission and remain true to the intent of the gift.

    These conversations have brought wealth/estate planning advisors and gift planning officers to the table to help establish complex, blended gifts when working with high-net-worth donors. When these gifts come to fruition, mission activities - whether it is research, education, or community programs - will be eternally transformed for the betterment of society.

    But, these conversations are few and far between for most fundraising professionals responsible for gift planning, particularly in organizations where programs rely on the vast number of previously-unknown bequests that are realized each year or are a low priority compared to more immediate gifts. Instead of these wonderful, proactive conversations regarding an ultimate gift at the end of life, difficult conversations between nonprofit estate administration offices and estate personal representatives (PR) occur on a more regular basis.

    When a PR calls to inform an organization of a bequest and expresses how the decedent would have liked the gift used, too often, organizational staff must respond with the dreaded phrases “I am sorry, but that is not how it is written in the will,” or “I am sorry, but our organization does not accept these types of gifts.”  When a bequest cannot be accepted as written, the organization may need to take legal action to change the use of that gift, leading to a smaller gift than intended or no gift at all.

    In many cases, a slight change in the bequest language before the will is finalized can make all the difference. Simple steps can be taken in both nonprofit organizations and estate planning firms that will allow gift planning officers and advisors to better serve shared clients/donors, as both have a vested interest in ensuring the integrity of Legacy Gifts.

    For example, fundraising staff responsible for gift planning programs can get involved in local and regional estate planning councils; network with area wealth management advisors and estate planning attorneys; and provide accurate and concise bequest language to advisors to ensure that legacy gifts can be used by the organization and follow the true intent of the gift.

    Estate planning advisors can ask more probing questions of their clients when charity is included in estate plans to determine the true intent of the legacy gift; compile a list of the most common charities that clients have named as beneficiaries and get to know the local gift planning officers for those organizations; and use gift planning officers as a resource, reach out to obtain the appropriate bequest language for clients from the organizations chosen as beneficiaries. (Of course, the conversation can remain anonymous).  

    When estate planning advisors and gift planning officers work together, no matter the size or timing of the gift, the ongoing legacy of shared clients/donors is preserved.

  • Friday, September 10, 2021 10:51 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Liz Hefner

    Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter. Original blog post Sept 2020. Used with permission.

    Great storytelling motivates. It should make audiences feel something powerful and want to take action. As fundraisers, we are often the storyteller as we shape narratives to demonstrate impact, need, and heart to our donors and volunteers. Often, this shaping process maximizes fundraising impact without intentionally considering the sources of the story - the people or community served. As fundraisers, there is an opportunity to create narratives, which engage donors and prevents objectification of people and communities. Communities and people served by our organizations can invite audiences to share a moment with them and inspire the audience to action rather than becoming a token of your organization's brand.

    This process eases tensions between program officers, who want to convey impact without dehumanizing anyone, and fundraisers who want to inspire donors. It is important that fundraisers develop the tools needed to = create opportunities to empower and equip the people at the center of your organization's story to own, craft, and develop their narrative. In this process, they find their voice and discover how their own narrative intersects with your organization.

    One of the most important tools you can develop is your interview process.

    Before Interview Checklist:

    1. Check your assumptions

    o   Will the interview create harm, trauma, or delay progress related to a person’s reason for being apart of your organization

    o   What assets/values/gifts do you already see, know about, what to learn more

       2. Introduce yourself and check-in

    o   Are there any questions or concerns you can answer ahead of the interview

    o   Share your role in the org and the goal of the interview

        3.  Confirm that they are comfortable with their story being shared on   
              a variety of platforms

    During Interview Checklist:

    1. Check-In with your interview and confirm that the scheduled time still works for them
      2. Re-Introduce Yourself

    o   Ask what their interview goals are for the interview

    o   Shift the power back to the interviewee

    o   Acknowledge your privilege, position, and power as the author/recorder of the interview

    o   Empower them to own their narrative.  Let them know your intent to be a pathway for your audience to hear from them in their words with their voice and mean it.

    o   Let them know they will get to approve the final product(s)

      3. Confirm pronouns, and preferred name  4. Check body language as you continue through the interview to gauge
           comfort and determine if you should continue.

    Post Interview Checklist:

    1. Provide the final product to the interview before

    2. Check your bias, filter, and language shifts that don’t honor the interviewee’s goals or that reinforce systemic racism and stereotypes.

    As you begin telling stories orient every narrative around value, assets, and opportunity for the teller not simply your fundraising objective.

  • Friday, September 10, 2021 10:26 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)
  • Friday, September 10, 2021 10:16 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Mary Fischer-Nassib, CAP®
    Co-Founder and President
    Sow Good Now
    PGCGP member since 2021

    Tell us about the work of Sow Good Now.

    Founded in July of 2018, Sow Good Now utilizes organized youth sporting activities as a platform for philanthropic education and inspiration, as we partner with sports teams and other nonprofits to increase community collaboration and intentional giving. Sow Good Now aligns each team of athletes with a youth group to teach the fundamentals of philanthropy and engage them in active volunteerism and participatory grantmaking. This is done through Giveback clinics where the athletes act as coaches and mentors spreading the joys of giving their time, talent, and treasure.  The outcome is the mentors encourage the next generation of philanthropists at their rudimentary levels.

    Roughly 45 million children participate in sports in the U.S. annually and there are less than 500 youth philanthropy programs nationwide. By bringing diverse community members together through the sports they love, and by integrating a spirit of generosity with active volunteerism and participatory grantmaking, a new and sustainable ecosystem of philanthropic giving can be established. Sow Good Now’s model transforms the individual athlete by inspiring passion, providing philanthropic education, and developing leadership skills. Those who donate to the organization are collectively lifting youth voices and applying innovation to address social issues for a better tomorrow.

    What responsibilities do you have in your role?

    As the co-founder and president of a start-up impact organization, I wear a lot of hats. I am a program director, cheerleader, recruiter, educator, student, researcher, coach, fundraiser, communication specialist, evangelist, and operations specialist. However, my main responsibility is to empower young athletes to share their gifts with others in meaningful ways and grow philanthropy through the sports we love.

    What part of your role is most enjoyable?

    It thrills me when young people experience an “aha moment” and realize how powerful they are, as they start to fully recognize their potential to make a positive impact on the world. I am moved when our work changes the trajectory of an athlete’s life and the focus shifts from achievement to service. I am inspired when teams come together and collectively share their time, talent, treasures, and ties with others. Their joy inspires our volunteers to continue to achieve our mission.

    What is the most impactful gift your organization has received?

    At Sow Good Now, we believe every gift is impactful. In effective philanthropy, we need to work as a team, and we believe that the person who holds the key to the gym is equally as important as the person who builds it. Without the whole community’s commitment to service and generosity, we cannot maximize the good that is possible.

    What are  donors saying about why they choose to support your organization?

    When we first started in 2018 and took to the fields, courts, and gyms to teach philanthropy, many donors and volunteers commented that the word “philanthropy” was too hard to use with young players. They suggested we replace it with “community service.”  We held fast to our conviction that philanthropy is the love of mankind and that if that was too difficult for them, then maybe they were in the wrong place. Now we commonly hear comments such as “we need more philanthropy!”

    How do planned gifts make a difference to your organization?

    Since we are a fairly new entity, we are still building our efforts in integrating planned gifts into our fundraising, but we expect them to become a big part of our organization. By educating younger people in philanthropy, we hope to raise generations of givers who have ample time to learn about and understand the tools available to leaving a legacy. They will be better prepared to talk to their families, advisors, and planners about charitable strategies in the future.

    How do you benefit from PGCGP membership?

    The PGCGP membership provides the Sow Good Now leadership team with a great network of giving experts and a community of diverse philanthropists. We have met so many great people with whom I can share ideas and issues as they arise.

    Learn more about Sow Good Now by visiting sowgoodnow.org.

  • Wednesday, June 09, 2021 4:43 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Delia Perez, CFRE

    As we head into the summer season, we hope you can enjoy the good weather and engage in your favorite outdoor recreational pursuits with family and friends. We also urge you to take advantage of the PGCGP educational curriculum to improve your overall philanthropic results on behalf of the causes we serve.

    As we play our collective role in getting things back to “normal” with vaccine rates increasing and COVID cases decreasing, we are optimistic that Philadelphia will keep easing indoor capacity restrictions, allowing us to resume in-person networking activities and learning opportunities in Center City. Until that time, please considering joining us for upcoming virtual educational sessionsto learn from our expert presenters.

    I also encourage you to explore ways to get the most from your PGCGP membership: 

    • Attend our annual premier educational event, the Planned Giving Day Conference, on October 27th 2021 at the Union League in Philadelphia.
    • Register for the two-day Planned Giving Course in April 2022 as a good introduction to our field and the half-day summary program on October 26th 2021.
    • Volunteer your time and expertise. Get involved with PGCGP committees to ensure the success of PGCGP program offerings while also strengthening your professional skills.
    • Get acquainted with our sponsors and take advantage of the quality services and products they provide to better serve our planned giving community. We remain deeply grateful for our ongoing partnerships with our sponsors.

    Have a healthy and safe summer!

  • Wednesday, June 09, 2021 4:27 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Jessica Brookstein, MBA, CAP®, Divisional Director of Gift Planning at The Salvation Army


    The Planned Giving Council of Greater Philadelphia offers a Mentoring Program to further the Council’s mission to provide meaningful professional resources to our membership. Read how two of our members have benefitted from this mutually beneficial experience.

    Mentor Background: John Schlesinger has more than 35 years of advancement experience, primarily in higher education, as well as healthcare, horticultural and human services organizations. His career has allowed him to develop a unique perspective into every aspect a fundraising program. In his tenure, he has directly served in every area of a traditional fundraising program including strategic planning, prospect research, annual giving programs, stewardship, major gifts, planned giving events and executive management. His focus in every program served has been building and enhancing relationships, promoting engagement and affinity to each organization’s mission and vision, and developing strategic approaches to encouraging growth and leadership support. His current credentials include the CFRE and CAP®.  John is currently directing the planned giving program at Einstein Healthcare Network and has been a member of PGGCP since 1997. 

    Mentee Background: Steve Ardinger, CAP®, CLTC, has more 20 years’ experience as an Independent Financial Advisor specializing in retirement income planning, long-term care and philanthropic giving. As an independent advisor he built strong relationships with his clients based upon mutual respect and trust. In 2018, he witnessed the power of philanthropic giving in the months following the tragic loss of two close friends and decided to refocus his career. Steve is currently the divisional gift planner for The Salvation Army Eastern Pennsylvania & Delaware Division and has been a member of GPPGC since 2020.

    What led you to sign up to be a Mentor/Mentee?

    John: Participation in PGCGP committees has always been difficult for me to juggle with work, but I have always enjoyed helping another professional seeking to expand their understanding of our work and felt it would be the best way for me to give back to the organization as well as the profession. Throughout my career I have benefitted greatly from the advice and guidance of more seasoned professionals and know it is the best way to help someone else grow in their profession. 

    Steve: I have, in my past career as a financial planner, enjoyed helping other professionals expand their understanding of the work and responsibilities of the position. As I embarked on my path into gift planning/development, I felt that it would be the perfect opportunity to reach out and try to find a seasoned professional for the same type of help I had provided in the past. There is no better resource than someone that has already been there. I wanted to listen and learn as much as possible to help me in my transition.

    What do you hope to get out of being a Mentor/Mentee?

    John: Mostly the satisfaction of helping another professional expand their knowledge and understanding, as well as being a source of support at times when dealing with specific issues. It is also a great way to get to network and get to know others in nonprofit fund raising. Often, it will provide me with understanding new approaches to my work.

    Steve: Knowledge and the support of a trusted professional to lean on if times get hard or I find myself in a situation with answers that are difficult to find. I also am looking at the role as a networking tool helpful to expand my contacts in the field. 

    What is one piece of advice you would give to new professionals entering this field?

    John: I would say, be open, listen and learn about the mentee. Sometimes he or she knows more than they realize, (and) just needs encouragement in what they are doing already.  Along with this, be mindful of where you have come from and how the well-placed advice of a colleague in the field has helped. 

    SA: FIND A MENTOR. Someone you can lean on, bend their ear when needed. No one wants to go it alone! Though I will openly admit I have underutilized my mentor over the past few months, I plan to take my own advice and build the relationship moving forward. 

    Mentors in PGCGP’s program are gift planning professionals who want to “give back” to the profession. To discover the options that are available to you, please email us at info@pgcgp.org.

    Please note: to participate in this program, you must be a current member of our local council.

  • Wednesday, June 09, 2021 4:23 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Susan Sharp, CFRE, Vice President for Philanthropy, Simpson Senior Services

    I run a philanthropy department. And by department, I mean me and an administrative assistant! On any given day I could be asking for a complex gift or ordering balloons. Other days I work on board development or hunt down new toner (thanks, COVID). When I step back and reassess what the most important thing I do to support my organization’s mission, I always come back to the same answer… securing planned gifts. Sometimes the road to get there feels like it is straight uphill, and I wonder if I’m taking the right steps.

    Our organization was founded and supported decades ago by those willing to invest in the Simpson mission through their estates; some modest amounts and a few that have provided significant support in the sustaining of our work. I would venture a guess to say that a few had specialty advisors and advanced knowledge themselves, but all led with their hearts to do good. Just plain good for a mission they supported and an organization they loved.

    This leads me to my point; planned giving is not as complicated as we often make it out to be. Sure, specialty knowledge is necessary. But that type of knowledge is readily available even if you do not have it all together or if you have a small team. I have yet to find a financial advisor, a banking officer or attorney unwilling to help their client (or me!) with heart intentions.

    Hearts are captured when we align mission with intention. My job is to tell the story and then tell it again to those that may align. Like the story of being able to keep a 104-year-old woman in her home even after she ran out of her own resources. Or the woman who made technology possible that can help reduce falls for seniors in our care. Both examples occurred recently because of planned giving. There are honestly too many stories to mention here but I find myself in a unique position to capture this knowledge – and to share it!

    We all know that research has shown us that donors who give regularly (regardless of size of gift) over a longer period are the most likely to consider a planned gift. Find those people and tell the story of your organization! And then tell the stories again when you are asked to address a group or take a prospect to lunch or write a newsletter article. Tell them!

    I hope that this encourages you today, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed or uncertain of where to focus your efforts. The truth is, I have never seen a strong foundation whose backbone did not come from planned giving. Now if you will excuse me, I think my toner is low…

  • Wednesday, June 09, 2021 4:15 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Nathana Jackson                                                                                                     
    Director of Gift Planning
    University of Delaware (UD), Newark, DE
    PGCGP member since 2017

    How long have you been involved with gift planning?

    Seven and a half years. I had worked in trust administration and estate settlement in the banking industry for six years. While pursuing a master’s degree in Administration of Human Services, I learned about fundraising and decided that’s what I wanted to pursue. I volunteered at a few non-profits to gain experience and began working at UD as a development coordinator for the Gift Planning and Corporate and Foundation Relations teams. That exposed me to gift planning by assisting the team of gift officers with their needs and administrative
    work, so I transitioned to other side of trusts and estates from where I started.

    What responsibilities do you have in your role?

    In addition to managing prospects through qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, I co-train our major gift officers on planned giving. I also partner with them on blended gifts and planned gifts they discover. Prior to COVID, I did a lot of in-person work educating our continuing education population – of which a large percentage are retired – about planned gifts through presentations, classroom visits, staffing info tables and other activities. I hope to resume that by next year.

    What part of your role do you find most enjoyable?

    My favorite part is meeting new prospects and learning their stories, their connection to UD and hearing about their time as a student and the path they took after graduation. I enjoy being able to come back and help them figure out what impact they want to make with their gifts. We have so many opportunities; it’s fun helping them narrow that down to decide what exactly they want to do.

    What has been the most complex gift plan you’ve coordinated?

    I was involved in working on estate where the deceased had named UD as executor and as one of the beneficiaries. He was from Bulgaria and some of the other beneficiaries were in Bulgaria. Documents had to be translated into another language because the other beneficiaries – including individuals we had to track down - were in Europe. It was pretty complicated and took years to finalize.

    What are you hearing from donors at this point in time?

    I’m still seeing “simple” planned gifts - bequests remain the most popular and gifts from IRAs are becoming more common. Most new estate gifts are bequests. With the pandemic, a lot of people are looking at estate plans and finding that bequest is the simple way to go. It does involve an attorney but if they’re making changes anyway, it’s easy to add charitable intentions. Adding UD as beneficiary to a retirement plan is also an easy option some donors find attractive.

    What do you see in the future of gift planning?

    As far as gifts, I think younger people are getting more involved in investing right now, especially with things like Robinhood, so we may start getting more gifts of securities. As that grows, that generation may end up including charities in their overall planning, so we need to continue to educate and cultivate. I also see more technology and digital outreach becoming standard. I know some churches are using sophisticated apps for donations since congregations may not be together in person.

    How do you benefit from your PGCGP membership?

    Attending things like Planned Giving Day and PGCGP’s other professional development opportunities are always helpful. I’m on the Planned Giving Day Committee and being part of that and learning how that is structured and everything going into it has been insightful. I also mentor someone through PGCGP’s mentorship program.

  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 10:20 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Delia Perez, CFRE

    While many of us may feel beaten down by the coronavirus pandemic and economic downturn that plagued the tumultuous Year of the Rat, we can take heart because February 12th 2021 ushered in the Year of the Ox. According to Chinese astrology, our collective fortune is about to change – for the better – with a new year of compassion and healing, and the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine. Now more than ever, we look forward to new beginnings, transformational change and innovation.

    We have much to do in this time of peril and possibility. Businesses closed and jobs were lost, and many of our colleagues, family and friends were furloughed or laid-off from the causes they serve. We need to thoughtfully listen to each other with empathy and understanding. We need to lend a hand with the same care and concern we would offer to the benefactors of the causes we serve. We are all in this together and our better angels have always prevailed.  

    It’s time to be inventive, intervene, get involved, reassess and reclaim what’s best for us both personally and professionally. The Ox year will push to improve life and emphasize how our diversity makes us stronger and better when we work together. In Chinese culture, oxen are symbols of wealth and prosperity, acquired through hard work, diligence, perseverance, integrity and fair play.

    The new year represents a time to reflect and recalibrate, review your accomplishments and determine if you achieved your goals, fell short or exceeded your own expectations. Only you know for sure if you did your best. 

    We invite you to take advantage of the PGCGP educational curriculum to improve your results. We hope to return to our usual in-person meetings at the Racquet Club in Philadelphia later in the year. In the meantime, please considering joining us for our virtual educational sessions to learn from our expert presenters.

    • Exceeding your expectations? Consider presenting a topic relevant to planned giving at one of our educational programs.
    • Attend our annual premier educational event, the Planned Giving Day Conference, on October 27th 2021 at the Union League in Philadelphia.
    • Register for the two-day Planned Giving Course in April 2022 as a good introduction to our field and the half-day summary program on October 26th 2021.
    • Volunteer your time and expertise. Get involved with PGCGP committees to ensure the success of PGCGP program offerings while also strengthening your professional skills.
    • Get acquainted with our sponsors and take advantage of the quality services and products they provide to better serve our planned giving community. Thanks to our ongoing partnerships with our sponsors, we hope you enjoy the timely articles submitted from the Stelter Company, Pentera, and The American College, who are sharing their expertise in this issue.

    PGCGP offers a mentoring program for newcomers in the planned giving field and assigns seasoned professionals to help grow a budding career. We offer multiple opportunities for volunteer assignments supporting our council activities and invite you to consider joining your colleagues in service for our profession. We need your help to support PGCGP initiatives. One of the benefits of volunteering with your colleagues is a great networking connection where you can discuss important facets of your work and exchange ideas to improve effectiveness and efficiency. 

    Make the most of your PGCGP membership and re-energize your work life this year. Wow your donors with excellent stewardship and let them know they are appreciated. Discuss the impact of their generosity, thank them often, ask their advice, and extend an invitation to visit without always soliciting donations. Phone and arrange a zoom visit with your donors and let them know they are important and matter to the mission of your organization. And when it’s safe to gather in person again, go visit your donors.

    Be sure to invest in you! Take a course, attend a conference, and strengthen your skill set. Be a better professional by taking better care of you. Get a good night’s sleep, take walks and exercise, and whenever possible, spend time with your loved ones and the important people in your life. Always remember, our donors and the missions we serve deserve us at our very best; don’t skimp on yourself or them.

    We hope the Year of the Ox will be one of your best years ever, and as they say for the Chinese New Year: "Gong xi fa cai," which means “wishing you great happiness and prosperity.”

    Delia G. Perez, CFRE
    President, PGCGP

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Moorestown, NJ 08057-0579

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E-mail: info@pgcgp.org

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