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.