Welcome to the LACGP Newsletter. This e-newsletter is sent out on a monthly basis. The newsletter provides links to this page. Please see below for the items that appeared in the March 2022 issue.

Top 10 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss the 31st Annual Western Regional Planned Giving

By Michele Bignardi and Patience Boudreaux

10.  WRPGC is moving back to an in-person setting at the Westin South Coast Plaza, so opportunities to network with colleagues, identify new service partners, and reconnect with friends abound!

9.     In addition to the Primer on Wednesday afternoon, we will have a concurrent session featuring faculty from the CAP program on the topic of “Giving in Diverse Communities: Case Studies and Shared Learnings.” This will be a great session for you if you’ve been wondering how to develop actionable strategies to engage diverse communities in your fundraising. 

8.     The Wednesday welcome reception (hosted again by Stelter – thanks Nathan and Jeremy!), is more than the “heavy appetizers” we bill it as – come for the open bar, stay for the charcuterie.

7.     There’s something for everyone in our keynote line-up: intrigue (“The Philanthropy Apocalypse” with John Kobara), humor (“It's Not the Fruit, It's the Root: Getting to the Heart of Our Ethical Ills” with Sean Carter), and (philanthropic) passion (“The Role of JEDI Values in Transformational Giving” with Daniel Sims).

6.     Don’t skip breakfast – it’s the most important meal of the day… because we’re introducing breakfast affinity tables on Thursday morning. These will help facilitate conversations about how to put into action what you’re learning but also help those new to WRPGC and/or LACGP meet people from organizations similar to them so that they know what to expect from the experience and expand their network of peers.

5.     Wisdom Wednesdays are back! Register now, so you can attend the full lead-in series which starts May 4, and benefit from our early bird rates which end April 15.

4.     South Coast Plaza = Food Paradise. Accessible via a footbridge from the hotel, South Coast Plaza has so many dining options! As you connect with people throughout the day, don’t forget to make plans for dinner or plan to join our go-Dutch dinner groups for Thursday.

3.     The only thing better than being honored by your peers, is being there to celebrate with the honorees. We held off on awarding these in the virtual setting, so we’re recognizing three different people at this conference. Bill Strickland, Patience Boudreaux, and Kimberley Valentine would love to see you there!

2.     Exhibitor insights (and freebies!). We’ve all seen service providers within gift planning increase their offerings in the pandemic. Now is your chance to discuss with them one-on-one your needs and see how they can help. Additionally, we can attest to the usefulness of the freebies –Bridgette Pruitt has assured us she will be bringing the beloved CSPG highlighters for the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies table.

1.     The experience isn’t limited to the on-site days! Our conference app will allow you to engage with peers, learn more about partners, and download materials before and after conference so the connection, learning, and fun extends afterwards.

(Yes, we realize food was featured at least three times. We said what we said.)

Working with Allied Professionals, What I Learned from a Recent LACGP General Meeting

By Kimberly Jetton, President & CEO, Orange Catholic Foundation, LACGP Board Marketing Co-Chair

If you haven’t attended an LAGCP meeting lately, you are missing out on not only connecting with colleagues but valuable and practical information that you can use in your daily planned giving efforts.  Recently, I attended an in-person LACGP General Meeting that featured Stephanie Buckley as a guest presenter. Never to disappoint, Stephanie offered some great insights, and her presentation resonated with me on several fronts. Here are my top three takeaways from her presentation about how to work with both donors and allied professional advisors.

1.      Who is the client?

For estate planning attorneys, this can be tricky, especially when working as an allied professional who is introduced to the donor by the nonprofit. In these instances, the nonprofit is not your client, the donor is. Consequently, it’s important to ensure that the donor has the best possible plan created for them, regardless of how they became your client. 

For those representing the nonprofit, it’s important for us to remember that we may not be privy to all of the details and that the donor’s plan is to be crafted between the donor and their advisor(s). Nonprofits may or may not be invited to the table, and we as representatives must respect this process. 

2.     Who pays for the estate plan?

Stephanie was clear on this – the nonprofit should not be footing the bill for the donor. I understand this may place us as nonprofits in difficult situations. I’ve often personally had donors offer assets in their estate plans if we pay the attorney. Of course, we want the asset, but this is where the waters can get muddied. If our agency pays for the estate plan, it is much easier for the heirs to contest this distribution in the long run. While there is no easy solution if the donor insists that the nonprofit pays the bill, but the bottom line is we should avoid this altogether.

3.     Should the family be involved with the gift plan?

It’s important that the family be aware of the estate gift. However, Stephanie cautions about having family members attending “gift meetings” with donors and their advisors. Undue influence can be identified at various stages, and it’s important that donors have one on one time with their legal counsel. Children or other family members mean well, but they cannot speak for the donor themselves unless they are legally in a position to do so. Be sure to have at least one meeting with the donor without any other family members present so that you can rest assured the donor is acting of their own volition.

Estate planning can be fraught with hazards, so relying on competent estate attorneys can help avoid such hazards when working with your donors.  It’s best to ensure that donors have proper representation which they should finance themselves to secure that future gift. In the end, a gift secured improperly will likely not come to fruition, so it’s best to always be prudent.

LACGP Interviews a Newer Member, Ken Saita

The Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners (LACGP) is a dedicated community helping to increase philanthropy through charitable gift planning, and membership is what makes our community possible. Marketing team member, Marisa Reyes had the opportunity to interview a newer member to the LACGP community, Ken Saita of Harvey Mudd College.

LACGP: How did you learn about the Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners (LACGP)?

Ken: Debbie Bills was my supervisor at Harvey Mudd College when our advancement office was between prospect research directors. We had weekly check-in meetings to make sure I didn’t break anything important. She was a great supervisor but I was truly amazed that, on top of all of her duties at HMC, Debbie was also a board member at the LACGP (I believe it was still PPP-LA back then). She also presented an abbreviated form of “Planned Giving 101” for the California Advancement Researchers Association. That was a great presentation!

LACGP: What would you like to gain from being a member of LACGP?

Ken: Marisa Reyes, my across-the-hallway colleague, has been shepherding our planned giving for quite some time on her own—successfully as well. While she has regular meetings with our AVP and partners with our other gift officers on planned giving solicitations, she does not have a team with which to share general planned giving discussions. In lieu of a team, she and I have had many informal hallway conversations about planned giving and planned giving prospects. About a year after the start of the COVID pandemic, we were able to formalize our hallway conversations into approved, scheduled, bi-weekly “Team Planned Giving” meetings. These provide a great way to share internal information as well as provide a venue to discuss a variety of planned giving topics. Although I am familiar with major and annual giving, planned giving is a new focus for me. I am looking for opportunities that can help me with learning about constituent development for planned giving. I want to be a good sounding board for planned giving discussions. I also want to see if there are any differences when researching and analyzing for planned giving.

LACGP: What is interesting to you about planned giving?

Ken: When you work in fundraising, you get a chance to see the impact that significant donors can make. Scholarships, support programs, or additional departmental resources come to mind as a few of the initiatives that can be funded. These often-transformative gifts can open opportunities for the people who will ultimately benefit from this generosity. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to bring this kind of impact to the vast majority of modest donors who have ardently supported organizations for decades—sometimes from their inception? I feel that planned giving can be a force multiplier for modest donors. Their passion for an organization can be matched with a philanthropic gift that would not have been possible during their lifetime; their giving legacy can continue to support their beloved causes. And yes, wouldn’t it also be great to be able to see the joy in a donor’s face when they know you were able to help ensure their legacy of giving? We need to have planned giving in many more gift conversations so we can thank these donors in person instead of finding out about a gift after someone has passed.

LACGP: What do you feel is the most important thing you can learn this year?

Ken: Building a solid foundation in the basics and making sense of the alphabet soup of planned giving vehicles!

LACGP: How can LACGP help you accomplish this year’s goals?

Ken: I need to take advantage of your planned giving webinars as much as I can. I also need to review your posts of the Russell James videos—those are excellent! I’m not sure of the level of activity on your listserv but that would be good to access as an additional resource. The national prospect researchers’ version of this is still a good source of answers. Hopefully your LinkedIn home will generate traffic too.

Ken is the associate director of Research and Prospect Management at Harvey Mudd College. As a valued and trusted team member, he developed cost-saving, in-house predictive models and had a significant role in the creation of an automated prospect evaluation tool that aggregated several key fundraising markers. Not wanting to live completely on the data end of the spectrum, he also enjoys working with gift officers during their monthly prospect management meetings. On three occasions, he has taken on the responsibilities of managing all research operations for extended periods during leadership transitions. Ken garnered the moniker “The Rock” due to his stabilizing influence during these transitions. When first hired as a coordinator at HMC, one of his scheduled tasks was to work in the planned giving area—he is finally getting a chance to do this now.