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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.

  • 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

  • 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.

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Moorestown, NJ 08057-0579

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E-mail: info@pgcgp.org

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