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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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  • 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

  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 10:17 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Lynn Gaumer, JD, Senior Gift Planning Director, Stelter

    Now with a Democratic White House and House of Representatives and an evenly divided Senate—Vice President Harris represents the tiebreaking vote—I believe we will have enough congressional support to see changes in the U.S. Tax Code during the Biden administration. But when? Let’s look at a little history.

    Read more.
  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 10:00 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Phil Cubeta and Laurie Morrow. Phil holds the Sallie B. and William B. Wallace Chair in Philanthropy at The American College of Financial Services, where he directs and teaches in the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) program. Dr. Laurie Morrow serves the CAP® program as an educational consultant and editor. She is also the editor of CAPShare.

    The National Standards for Gift Planning Success (NSGPS) identify the elements essential to a successful, sustainable gift-planning program. The American College of Financial Services® presents a summary of these recommendations.

    Read more.
  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 9:59 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Claudine A. Donikian, President & CEO, Pentera, Inc.

    Pentera's COVID-19 survey was conducted as a second phase of research—following a series of interviews that Ms. Donikian conducted with other industry experts beginning in Spring 2020 to discuss how they were adapting their planned giving programs to these unprecedented times. The survey findings include responses to questions about stewardship and marketing received from hundreds of planned giving departments around the nation.

    Follow link to request complimentary download.

  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 9:51 AM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Kathleen Sanger, Director of Development, Home of the Sparrow

    Small, front-line service organizations like Home of the Sparrow focus as many resources as possible on the client. Of our 10 full-time employees, five are solely dedicated to delivering the mission – programs and trauma-informed case management to help women and children in Chester County, PA, avoid homelessness. Our only source of income, minus some program fees, is fundraising – all $1.3M of it. With no endowment, we wake every July 1st to a “zero” in balance sheet.

    We know that building our planned giving programs is vital; it comes up all the time at meetings, amongst peers and from marketing emails that tell us we’d better get on the ball. Well, here’s what I know about the “ball” when you are in a small shop: You must put things into perspective.

    First, you must accept that you are a department of one (or two if you’re lucky) who is responsible for writing grants, the annual appeal, events, fulfilling contracts for local government funding, stewarding donors, managing gift entry and acknowledgements, cleaning the bathroom (if it’s your Friday to do so), taking out the trash (every Friday) and answering the phone or door if no one else is available. You can only do so much and that is okay; let yourself off the hook and stop having nightmares.

    Second, get everyone around you to stop having nightmares and panicking. My heart breaks for those of us (staff and volunteers) who were convinced that not only is planned giving REALLY complicated, you most certainly cannot begin until you have a brochure (don’t get me started on the brochure). This leads to months and months of writing and designing by committee (yikes) during which, the whole point is missed.

    Isn’t planned giving just part of the natural course of building a relationship with a donor? It’s okay to be in a conversation with a donor and, because you sense it is the right thing to say, you ponder aloud, “Your love for our mission is extraordinary. I wonder if you have considered leaving Home of the Sparrow in your estate plans?” Last time I checked it was legal to utter these words even if you don’t have a brochure. At smaller shops, we need a new PG mantra: “It’s not rocket science – anyone can do it!” Run a query of all donors with 10, 15 or even 25 years of consecutive giving. Take 10 who gave in the last six months and send them a note or call them to get a relationship started or to deepen it.

    Third, forgive ourselves for not being experts in estate planning. If a donor asks a how a CRT works and we’re not sure, reply: “I can help you achieve your philanthropic dreams with us, but when it comes to what planned giving vehicles are right for you, it’s best to chat with an expert.”

    I’ve worked at large institutions where there was a staff attorney who could do it all – introduce the idea, help donors dream, and introduce the gift planning products that would create a win-win. In an ideal world, we’d all have an expert on staff. Since that’s not plausible, we take baby steps like adding language to our webpages and on pledge cards. We form a committee of those closest to us who may not be experts but want to ensure the future of our work. They create a name for the giving society and begin promoting the concept strategically. If a brochure emerges, well that’s just serendipity.

    If you’d like to share your insight and experience with “small shop” planned giving in a future issue of our newsletter, please contact Megan Cantalupo at mccantal@udel.edu.

  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 12:45 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written By: Anat Becker, JD

    We all know the phrase (from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible), "There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." What a time these months have been: of learning to listen better and more deeply; of understanding what it truly means to be flexible and adaptive; of learning to be quiet and calm in the midst of chaos and uncertainty; of learning to be docile--teachable--and realizing that I know I don't know so much. For the fundraiser and those who help others to realize their philanthropic passions, more than ever, I hope we are learning to put our donors and those for whom we carry on our work in the center of all we do. This time will pass; a new time will come...

    Christopher Jungers, CFRE, CAP
    President, Association of Fundraising Professionals – Greater Philadelphia Chapter

    Dear Friends,

    My friend and fellow Planned Giving Council of Greater Philadelphia board member, Christopher Jungers, shared the reflection above with me. Christopher’s words resonated with my own experience during the pandemic and its aftermath in recent months.

    In these turbulent times, the planned giving field can still offer donors ways to support the philanthropic community of greater Philadelphia. And PGCGP is here to continue and support your work through continuing education and networking opportunities. 

    I hope that you’ve enjoyed our recent series of lectures offered in lieu of Planned Giving Day.  With a wide array of offerings – from an inspiring presentation about philanthropy and diversity, to efforts to streamline our work with retirement gifts, to taking stock of the health of your charitable gift annuity program – just to name a few. If you had registered and missed some of these excellent sessions, please be sure to review the recordings. 

    Please be sure to sign up for Jon Tidd’s presentation on January 28, as well as Claudine Pentera’s presentation on March 26. Both are excellent speakers and their insights will be especially welcome as we continue to navigate new ways and approaches to promoting philanthropy.

    This will be my last letter as president of PGCGP as my tenure comes to an end next month. It’s been a pleasure to learn with you and I look forward to seeing you all in person very soon.

    With my best wishes for a safe and healthy holiday season and a very happy 2021.

  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 12:19 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: L. Scott Schultz, President, Schultz & Williams

    One thing has become clear during these trying times is that donors want to help. Planned gifts most often come from loyal donors—not necessarily big donors. That means your most important task is to pay attention to donors in a way that inspires and justifies their loyalty.

    If anyone tries to tell you that we’ve been through this before, don’t believe them. That is, don’t believe that the crises all of us are facing these days are the same as those we’ve weathered in the past. The present layers of stress and uncertainty are almost too many to count, from the pandemic and the deeply damaging recession we are enduring, to the historic struggle against racism and the political turmoil we are experiencing, to the impacts of climate change we are witnessing—the hurricanes and wildfires each more savage than the last. Trying times, to say the least.

    The good news for those of us in the nonprofit world is that our donors want to help. They want to support the organizations they’ve always believed in, and they want to fund those that are successfully meeting pressing needs. This includes many donors who may be promising candidates to make planned gifts.

    In fact, there are certain aspects of the present moment that favor planned giving. Having seen that unexpected crises can suddenly pose an existential threat to the organizations they care about, more donors are now open to the idea of supporting an endowment or another gift that is clearly focused on your organization’s long-term sustainability.

    This then, can be a time of opportunity. As someone with a perspective spanning four decades in fundraising, I believe the key to seizing that opportunity lies in effective stewardship. It’s all about making sure you don’t lose donors during this time of crisis and ensuring that you are doing everything you can to actually strengthen your level of connection and engagement.

    As I am fond of reminding my colleagues, donors are like grandparents: They want to know how you are doing. They want to know you care. And the worst thing you can do is have them feeling left out. An intentional, sustained program of stewardship is your way of responding to these feelings.

    Remember, planned gifts most often come from loyal donors—not necessarily big donors. That means your most important task is to pay attention to donors in a way that inspires and justifies their loyalty.

    So how do you put your commitment to stewardship into action? I have three pieces of advice to share.

    1. Make your plan for donor engagement; and follow it — Any priority as important as stewardship is at this moment deserves careful forethought. Start by focusing on your donor records. Make sure your data is good, and take the time to do your homework, reviewing your prospect pool thoroughly. The more you know about the individuals you are seeking to cultivate, the more personal and individualized your approach can be. You should also look to identify donors who are new to your organization who have stepped forward in response to the crisis. Remember, we are looking to acquire donors not gifts. While the donor’s motivation for giving may have been transactional, an effective stewardship effort can create a strong planned giving prospect.

    Next, think about your points of contact. How many can you manage and how can you focus your limited time most productively? My advice here is that it’s generally smarter to choose depth over reach—in other words, plan for more frequent and meaningful contacts with a smaller number of high-priority prospects than trying to engage with everyone. Remember that to be effective, your stewardship will need to be sustained, and biting off too large a prospect audience makes it less likely that it can be.

    2. Revisit and refine your messaging — Your organization’s message to donors must always begin with your mission and the reasons it matters. However, some of those reasons may be different today than they were a year ago. It’s important to explain how, connecting your mission to this moment. It’s also important to share updates on how you’re doing, to explain how the crisis may have changed your organization, and to communicate the solutions you are putting in action.

    As you do so, I would encourage you, more than ever before, to adopt an attitude of transparency. This is no time for spin (if there ever was one). It is a time for honest and open concern and sharing. The starting point for our connection with donors is very basic; it comes from the fact that in these recent months, we have all found ourselves newly vulnerable and are eager for any chance to help and support each other.

    3. Choose multiple channels of communication —  To get and keep donors’ attention and nurture a meaningful conversation with them over time, you can’t rely on any one form of contact. In fact, you need to do exactly the opposite, tapping the full range of outreach channels available, from mass mail and email to hand-written notes, personal calls, and Zooms. There is no single medium that is right for this moment; instead, you should look to combine tried and true old-school methods with the newest ideas out there. As part of the mix, I strongly suggest exploring video. In these days since in-person encounters have grown so difficult and rare, simple, sincere video messages, even recorded on smart phones, have shown their power to connect with people.

    One last key point: your stewardship communications need to be two-way. Donors not only need to hear from you, but to know that you are hearing them.

    In closing, I’d like to share one piece of advice that transcends the tactical steps I have recommended. It is to remember the essential importance of hope. Donors may love your organization and believe in your cause. However, they won’t give in a significant way until you’ve made them feel secure about the future. This, of course, is even more true when it comes to planned gifts than other forms of support. Planned gifts are the ultimate long-term investment.

    This means that in our stewardship, we need to work intentionally to envision better days to come. We need to think about the part our organizations can play in getting there. We need to focus on positive outcomes.

    I don’t often find myself quoting Napoleon, but on this point he was correct. “A leader,” he said, “is a dealer in hope.” Right now, we need to pitch in to lead the great nonprofits that we all count on back to a point of strength and stability, and planned giving will be essential to our success.

  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020 4:30 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Anat Becker, JD

    Dear Friends,

    I hope you are safe and well. We've missed seeing you at the educational events of the Planned Giving Council of Greater Philadelphia, and we were glad that so many of you joined us online in March and June. September is right around the corner, and with it our traditional kick-off to Fall programming. You will see that we've adapted our programs and courses to today's realities. 

    The PGCGP has a robust lineup of programs scheduled for the Fall, including a Planned Giving Day keynote presentation on Diversity and Philanthropy. Please see a summary of this extremely important and timely session directly below. We hope that these educational programs will be helpful to your work in the greater Philadelphia philanthropic community.   

    On September 11 we will hold a webinar featuring Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP®. Russell is a professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University where he directs the on-campus and online graduate program in Charitable Financial Planning (planned giving). Russell will review 100 years of data about charitable bequests.

    On September 24 and 25 the
    Planned Giving Course will take place online. This course is designed for new and emerging planned giving professionals and development officers who want to add planned giving conversations into their interactions with donors, and wealth advisors and financial professionals who seek to increase their understanding of charitable planning strategies.

    Our Planned Giving Day Series
    is arriving Wednesday, October 14, with two educational sessions scheduled every Wednesday through November 18. While we'll miss seeing everyone at the Union League, we are pleased to offer pertinent topics by renowned speakers.

    Finally, another educational program will take place on December 3. Additional information will be shared closer to that date.

    I invite you to enjoy these topics and to sign up for these programs at your earliest convenience. Registration is available at
    pgcgp.org and via emails that are ongoing. I also encourage you to join one of our many committees that encompass membership, programming, sponsorships and much more.

    Best wishes to you all.

  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020 4:26 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Viken Mikaelian, CEO, PlannedGiving.Com

    A sad moment during this pandemic was my mother’s death. Because of the lockdown and travel restrictions, I could not be with her during her final days (she lived in Nevada). Although I’m told she passed in peace, which was a blessing, it doesn’t take away the sting — and I know there’s many people right now who can relate.

    The pandemic has affected each of us in different ways, and we all have stories to share.

    But if you know me, you know it’s not in my nature to sit around and wring my hands over what was, or even what might be. I choose to focus on the positives during tough times. So, with that in mind, I’ve been treating the pandemic as an opportunity for personal development: The lockdown has inspired me to experiment with new habits and new lifestyles. Some of them I’ll keep. Others … not so much.

    For instance:

    The Good

    I’ve been getting in touch with clients just to say “hi!” (you should do that, too — call or write to a donor daily).

    I’ve been brainstorming with staff to develop new ways for clients to market their planned giving programs (you should be brainstorming ways to reach prospects).

    I updated my estate plans (you should probably do that, too).

    I’ve been working seven days a week, and yet still setting aside time for my wife. I cherish our happy hour at 7 PM every night on the deck (OK, truth be told I was usually working seven days a week before the pandemic, so not much of a change there. The point is, it’s time to double down, not hurry up and wait).

    The Bad

    I’m only shaving once a week.

    I’ve been letting my hair grow.

    I’ve cut down on exercise.

    The Silly

    I’ve become a scofflaw; a true rebel without a cause: Due to lack of traffic, I often take a right on a “No Turn On Red” (and then suffer Driver’s Remorse that evening…).

    I’ve been considering teaching Chloe, our Yorkie, how to drive. What could possibly go wrong?

    Email us some of your good, bad and silly habits. And be brutally honest.

    I’ll respond. Honest.

  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020 3:54 PM | Anna Matheson (Administrator)

    Written by: Aruna Pappu, LLM-Tax, J.D., MSTax, Director of Development, Gift Planning, Drexel University

    As this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis continues, more and more Americans are facing uncertain futures.  In the past few months, an interesting trend has been evolving from this uncertainty:  Attorneys across the country are being besieged by clients requesting new Wills and Estate Planning Documents.  COVID-19, it appears, has been a resounding wake-up call to many who have avoided facing these important personal and family decisions in the past.  As Mary Kate D’Sousa, a veteran estate lawyer and co-founder of Gentreo observed, “[A]s awful as the pandemic is, at least it will enable people to take action they need to protect their families and loved ones….This has moved from the ‘to-do-list’ to ‘I really have to get that done.”

    So who are these folks now clamouring for their Wills to be done?  Attorneys are reporting that these new clients represent all ages and segments of society, rich and poor, old and relatively young.  It appears that what’s happening in lawyers’ offices now reflects the “Best Practices” promulgated in the industry for years: Namely that Wills and Estate Planning Documents are beneficial to all individuals, regardless of financial standing or age.  Now more than ever, Americans across the board are poised to draft/update their Wills, Powers of Attorney, Healthcare Surrogates, Living Wills and End of Life Directives.

    My fellow PGCGPers, by now you should be hearing the not-so-faint strains of harps and the pot o’ gold image should be coming into sharp focus.  As more and more Americans are updating their Wills and planning documents, they will inevitably also be making decisions about their Charitable Giving.  Our Prospective Donors are primed to GIVE NOW, so this is a HUGE opportunity for us.

    The obvious question at this point is “HOW?”  HOW do we undertake meaningful discussions with our Prospects during these socially distant times and still manage to move the Gifting process forward?  Although the “Best Practices” for this aspect of our profession are new and continually evolving, it is widely recommended that Charitable Gift Planners make the following modifications to their Gifting strategies:

    1. Delay IN-PERSON meetings with older Donors.  Instead, use tools such as Zoom meetings, FaceTime calls, etc. to schedule VIRTUAL Visits with older Donors.  This is a useful method to remain in contact with Prospects and an effective way to keep the Gift Planning discussion active during these times of socially distancing;
    2. Remind Donors about the benefits of CGAs.  Take this opportunity to  assure Donors that their annual CGA income will NOT be affected by Market volatility;
    3. Educate Donors about the SECURE Act.  Educate Donors about the SECURE Act’s new rules regarding Retirement Accounts and Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs), also known as Charitable IRA Rollovers.  Clarify that the SECURE Act affects Donors who own IRAs, 401(k)s or any Qualified Retirement Plan.  Further, the demise of the “Stretch IRA” will likely motivate Donors with large IRAs to Gift a larger percentage, or possibly all, to charity;
    4. Encourage Donors to consider other deferred Gifts.   For example, discuss the benefits of Gifts from Wills, Trusts, Life Insurance or Payment/Transfer on Death designations – since these do not require a current transfer of assets, Donors may find them more appealing;
    5. DISCOURAGE Gifts of DEPRECIATED Capital Assets.  Explain to Donors that, under the current Market downturn, depreciated capital assets such as securities or real estate, should not be donated.  Encourage Donors to Gift cash instead.

    With the aid of available technology, these recommendations seek to help us “pivot” to more “Virtual” interactions with our prospective Donors – at least for the foreseeable future.  Remember my friends, we’re all in this together.  So let’s all do our best to use this “Silver Lining” to Planned Giving’s advantage!

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