very young, our university didn't have a prayer in soliciting
planned gifts from our alumni. And there wasn't much return on
working directly with elderly "friends" who had their own
universities and charities to first consider.
So we built a program where we concentrate, almost solely, on
cultivating practitioners like estate lawyers, CPA's, realtors,
investment counselors, etc. We've convinced them, via intense
and ongoing interaction with our planned giving professional,
president, etc., that we have a sophisticated program and can
execute even the most advanced planning techniques (which we
We've recruited members of the practicing community to join our
"Planned Giving Council" and that organization is now about 65
strong. They meet quarterly on campus and receive
electronic newsletters. They have to constantly upgrade their
competency on various issues, so we offer the classes they need
on our campus.
So when wealthy investors find themselves in a "tax-situation"
or don't have a will and/or charities in their favor, the
practitioners mention the institution as an organization
prepared to and interested in meeting their
intentions/expectations as applicable within the scope of
What has resulted is a large list of 'expectancies' now on our
books from people, many of whom have never set foot on our
campus. (The range of giving is due to the potential fluctuation
of the value of assets in the collective "portfolio." It's
calculated very conservatively). One of these assets just came
to fruition when we received a house that recently sold for
$770k. We had the expectancy booked at $750k.
In another case, just unfolding, an heiress will be on our
campus to seriously discuss establishing a project.
The donor is aging. Why is this donor interested in us? Her
lawyer, who lives here and is on our "Planned Giving Council,"
called and suggested we provide the heiress with tickets to a
campus event. We did. She came and met our President for dinner
before the event. The lawyer informed her that our program is
sophisticated enough to do something serious and thoughtful with
So it's a great program created entirely out of necessity. Yet
it will translate well at and be effective at any university or
Just because you have well-established contacts with perhaps
thousands of aging, potential donors, working the practitioners
will still open up an entirely different case-load that will
very quickly warrant an entirely new planned giving professional
Planned Giving - Professional Allies Program
Planned Giving Committee (PGC)
Leadership group of professionals (currently 14) who meet four
times annually with the Director of Planned Giving.
Group provides critical feedback on technical, marketing and
client issues, and is a sounding board for policy and procedure
review as well as program strategy.
Critically, the Committee members can provide invaluable
information and feedback on particular cases that you are
The Committee does not have formal authority, as all decisions
rest with the Director, but its contributions and the weight of
its opinion are of major importance to Institutional Planned
Planned Giving Advisory Council (PGAC)
The larger (currently about 65) group of allied professionals
who meet twice annually on campus at a luncheon hosted by the
President and/or Provost.
Lead presentation is about some aspect of the campus academic or
other programs, usually represented by faculty or director. We
like to have students involved, when appropriate.
Council members have three charges:
knowledgeable about and familiar with the university
Act as an
ambassador for the institution by encouraging clients to make
a planned gift to the university in appropriate circumstances
Office of Planned Giving on ways to increase support through
bequests and other planned gifts
Suggestions on Building an Allied
1. Recruit the Planned Giving Committee first
2-3 leading professionals to brainstorm on names, sign letters,
and call them on the phone. Start with the very best names
Keep size around 10-16 for management purposes.
Consider involving a speaker from the university to start most
meetings to keep the learning process going, and connecting them
to the university.
Take the members on a campus tour and introduce them to students
from time to time.
Introduce to the President and your Foundation. These VIP
volunteer leaders provide a great network to clients as well as
Tell potential donors about your PGC, as appropriate, to
demonstrate to them the breadth of the professional support for
your planned giving program. This lends credibility to the
university. Even if a layperson does not use any of the PGC
professionals as her advisors, they will still like this
Have an annual social, thank you event on campus that highlights
Performing Arts, Athletics or another aspect of the university.
Seek candid feedback about what they think the university could
be doing to strengthen the planned giving program and its image
in the community.
2. Recruit the Planned Giving Advisory Council after the PGC
is operating smoothly
initial luncheon those professionals who you would like to have
As you meet professionals in their offices, take PGAC invitation
form and, if you have it, your weekly newsletter or other
publicity, and ask them to join.
Be very sensitive to the fact professionals are very protective
of their clients. I emphasize that our primary purpose is for
them to get to know the university so they become aware of
possible giving opportunities for their clients to consider.
Develop a membership list which is shared with members,
potential donors and the campus community.
Get email addresses!
Communicate with PGAC members by email about campus
accomplishments or to seek feedback or help on particular issues
(carefully and judiciously).
If you have the money, ideally send them an annual or more
frequent technical newsletter.
Communicate the existence and importance of this group at every
opportunity on- and off-campus.
Invite them to never hesitate to contact you by phone or email,
and that you are happy to come to their office at any time to
visit with them, and, if they wish, a client.
Provide them with technical gift illustrations and show them an
example once annually at one of the luncheons or other meetings.
Remember that this is a trust-building exercise that takes time
before the professional contacts you about a client. Tell the
professional that you would like her to consider placing the
university on her list of charities that she might mention to
clients when there appears to be a possible interest.
Service, service and service. Consider providing assistance
(calculations, case discussion) to professionals even where it
involves a charity other than your own institution. It will all
come back to build goodwill for the university.
Charitable Gift Annuity,