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 June 2022 issue.

The Year Ahead

By Michele Bignardi

It is fun – and a bit scary – to take up the mantel of leadership of LACGP in a few short weeks. I am grateful for the strong foundation that was built by my many predecessors. I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to a couple –our current Immediate Past President, Mary O’Hare and Debbie Bills. While both Mary and Debbie will be stepping down from the board, I know I can count on their support and guidance in the months and years ahead.

What a great in-person conference! Thank you conference co-chairs: Carí Jackson Lewis and Nancy Baxter, – great job. It was so exciting to appropriately recognize and celebrate the three Distinguished Service Awardees: William “Bill” Strickland, Kimberley Valentine and our soon to be immediate past-president Patience Boudreaux.

Patience’s work moving LACGP from the dark days of 2020 through our first in-person Western Regional just last month has been nothing short of monumental – and all done without a road map. As I look to what lies ahead for our council, it is my intention to:

  • Continue the high-quality, in-person General Meetings at our new location in Pasadena,
  • Expand regional “get-togethers” that combine both a round-table knowledge exchange with some social activity,
  • Strategically continue to deploy virtual learnings,
  • Provide strong mentorship opportunities – especially for those new to planned giving, and
  • Invite and welcome new members!

I was really moved by the interview in last month’s newsletter with Holly Hight, MPA, who serves as the Director of Donor Relations and Events at the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC). What really piqued my interest was how she described her job duties at DWC which included, “overseeing all our individual giving, in-kind donations, event giving and planned giving.” Holly shared that part of DWC’s 3-year strategic plan is to increase planned gifts. These blended annual, major and planned giving duties are more typical in nonprofit organizations and Holly is just the kind of nonprofit professional LACGP will be reaching out to in the year ahead.

Early in the pandemic, I had the opportunity to be part of Planned Giving panel with DSA-recipient, Bill Strickland and long-time LACGP member Vince Fraumeni. Our discussion was geared to people like Holly who want to build a planned giving program but do not necessarily have dedicated planned giving staff. Our message: Do It!

Bill covered the nuts & bolts of a planned giving program, Vince covered marketing. I spoke about building a Legacy Society. It is my personal belief that any organization can start a planned giving program by building and/or expanding its Legacy Society, but equally important – every donor or nonprofit supporter has a RIGHT to leave a legacy.

LACGP is the source to help all nonprofits make this happen.

On a personal note, in 2021 I documented and shared my first bequest with an organization I have long supported. It’s not huge – right now – but I am proud to be part of the YMCA’s President’s Club.

Why Planned Giving

By Kimberly Jetton

Any organization that has been in operation for a significant amount of time can hopefully point to at least one large and transformational gift. Odds are those gifts came in the form of a bequest or planned gift from an individual or family who felt a deep connection with each respective organization.  In fact, it is widely accepted that the largest gift a nonprofit will ever realize will be from a planned gift. Why, then, is it difficult to garner support from leadership or the board of nonprofits to invest in a planned giving program?

The most likely answer is that time, effort and resources should first and foremost be given to immediate cash gifts to keep operations going. This decision, however, ends up being a costly proposition down the road as those larger gifts requiring appropriate stewardship will likely not come to fruition. How do you convince leadership to invest in and adequately support a planned giving program? Here are three suggestions to consider when garnering support for this critical yet often overlooked component of an overall development program.

  1. We are in the midst of the largest transfer of wealth the world has ever seen. If your organization is not actively inviting and stewarding your donors to make a planned gift, be assured that someone else is. Each day, over 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 and this will continue for years to come. The assets held by these donors far exceed the generations to follow by 50%. Inviting your dedicated donors and supporters in this demographic to give through their estate plans is imperative to your organization’s long-term fiscal stability. By securing bequests and other planned gifts now, your organization will begin realizing substantial gifts within 5 to 10 years. The average bequest in the U.S. is between $35,000 and $70,000. The greater your bequest reservoir grows, the steadier your income flow becomes in less than a decade.
  2. Planned gifts do not only encompass bequests, though bequest giving makes up the vast majority of them. Planned giving also may include current gifts of assets, such as gifts of stock, IRA distributions, Donor Advised Funds and other non-cash assets. In addition to deferred giving, current gifts of assets can significantly boost your organization’s bottom line in the short term. Annual giving actually increases with a robust planned giving program in place.
  3. Bequest giving also causes your donors to appreciate your partnership in their philanthropic efforts. Not only are more deeply committed to your organization, they offer you the opportunity to steward them better for smarter ways to give from assets instead of cash. Imagine receiving a check from a donor for $10,000. Using a planned/current asset giving mindset, your organization could call that donor and ask if they have $10,000 in appreciated stock to give instead of cash, thus offering the benefit of both income tax savings as well as bypassing the capital gains tax appropriated should the donor otherwise sell that stock. You become a valuable partner in that donor’s giving strategies because you helped your donor save in taxes. More importantly, your donor will see your organization as a leader of good stewardship and resource management.  

The bottom line? Organizations that do not pursue their planned giving efforts will be left behind and miss out on the ripe giving opportunities right in front of them. Those who do invest are the true fundraising pioneers.

The Power of Partnerships: An Opportunity Prompted by the Pandemic

By Steven Adamian

Pandemic. Shutdown. Zoom. New normal. These are all terms we’ve become quite familiar with since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. Recent events have led the LACGP board to adopt another term: partnership.

Prior to the pandemic, LACGP relied upon sponsorships of the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference to ensure high-quality programming and networking events. Not only did the sponsorships provide LACGP with financial support, but they also provided conference attendees an opportunity to interact with sponsors and learn about the innovative ways in which a sponsor can help an attendee’s planned giving program. Then came March 2020. High COVID infection rates forced the conference to be held virtually for 2020 and again in 2021. Limited to one virtual event, sponsors and conference attendees were not able to interact as meaningfully as they once could. Consequently, sponsorships declined. This disruption revealed the need to reimagine sponsorships. As a result, a new partnership model was born.

Last July, LACGP launched its new partnership program. Under this model, sponsors (now “partners”) are able to gain exposure and engage with LACGP members year-round, all while receiving various benefits based on their respective partnership level. Under this new format, there are multiple opportunities for partner recognition and member interaction. Specifically, members, attendees and partners are able to engage with one another at quarterly membership meetings, educational seminars, roundtables, and social events, in addition to the conference. Partners also benefit from digital engagement, such as visibility on LACGP’s website, newsletter, and social media posts. This new approach has been an instant-hit, resulting in 22 partnerships!

To see the fruit of this partnership model, one need only to look at the new relationships achieved as a result of charity members seeking planned giving solutions. Here are a couple of examples that resulted in win-win success stories for LACGP members and its partners:

  • A hospital planned giving officer needed assistance with structuring a gift involving artwork. She heard a presentation on a similar topic from a partner law firm and consequently retained the firm for this gift. The officer was able to close a $10 million gift thanks to the advice provided by the law firm.
  • A university planned giving officer was looking for a company to provide administration services for its gift annuities fund. After learning in the Fall about a partner who provided such services, the officer and partner met to discuss how the university might be a good fit. As a result, the university retained the partner’s services, and the officer is very pleased with the customer service she has received to date.

It was such a joy to have the conference return in-person this year. As in prior years, it was a great opportunity for partners and conference attendees to interact with one another. If for whatever reason the conference and LACGP programming must go back to virtual, we can all take comfort that this new partnership model will continue to be a win-win for members and partners alike. This will ensure that LACGP will continue to be a definitive resource for charitable gift planning, as well as a place to network and build meaningful relationships within the philanthropic community.

Have you participated in one of our LACGP LinkedIn Polls?

Polls can give you an understanding of trends and are a great conversation starter. You will never be asked for political opinions, health status, or other sensitive data on LinkedIn. The polls are meant to engage members by focusing on fundraising basics and current trends within our LACGP community. Sharing your expanded thoughts on the current poll question in the comments can be helpful and is always welcome!

Over the past few months, you may have seen a few poll questions posted on the LACGP LinkedIn page. Did you take the opportunity to share your opinion? It just takes one quick click, and the results are fun to see.  Let your voice be heard the next time one pops up in your LinkedIn feed.

Have a question you would like to suggest for a poll? Let us know! Here are the results of the polls – January-May 2022.