Planned Giving Careers

Summer 2019 Webinar Training Announcement

This is our 6th year of offering convenient and cost effective webinar training programs!  Check out our full line-up of training for this summer (click each title to learn more and/or register!).  Thank you as always for considering our programs!


Planned Giving Boot Camp June July 2019

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Get Planned Giving Results Now…with a Survey Campaign!

Wednesday, July 24, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Advanced CRTs

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Advanced CGAs

Wednesday, August 7, 2019 at 12:00 PM


Advanced Charitable Lead Trusts

Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Fall Training Program Dates!


BootCampWe are pleased to announce fall dates for our popular training programs.

The Planned Giving Boot Camp – our original webinar training program that jumpstarts you and your team into this crucial area – for just $350 your entire team can participate – starts again on October 13, 2016 at 12 noon (EST)!  This is a 6-part program, one hour each session, all recorded in case you miss a class.  Click here or the above picture for more info or to register.

Or, for those beyond the basics, click here to learn more about Beyond the Planned Giving Boot Camp (or part II) – our 4-part follow-up webinar program starts October 26 for $240 for your team to learn more about implementing a successful planned giving program. Or, click the below picture.



Face to Face Meetings or NOT

Thinking about planned giving as a career – particularly if you are already a fundraiser?  Here is a question that a colleague and I fleshed out recently that should give you a good idea about a very significant difference between your role as a planned giving fundraiser and that of a major gifts officer.

Does a planned giving director/officer need to be seeing x #’s of people a month like successful major gift fundraisers are expected to?

Well, quite often numbers of donor visits is an expectation that planned giving staff have to live with. That is true but is it needed?  Not necessarily.

In speaking with a friend in the field who had moved over from major gifts – we touched upon the challenge of getting face to face meetings with planned giving donors and prospects.  In fact, based on his prior major gifts background, he stated categorically that the different type of gift transaction (between major gift and planned gift) warranted a different approach.

Here were his observations, which I confirm from my own experiences:

Major gift donors expect, and deserve, in-person meetings for gift asks – it just goes hand in hand with major gift fundraising.  They are most likely responding to a particular organizational need or request – specified in a particular dollar amount – that is best done with an in person meeting, if at all possible.  That is what works and that is what your donors are expecting!

But, planned gifts and/or planned giving donors are quite different. The decision is usually one that takes place in the privacy of their own reflections on life and death (i.e. will drafting, estate planning and/or retirement planning).  Organizational time pressures are almost always never part of the equation unless you have a legacy challenge grant campaign or the planned gift ask is part of a larger campaign ask.

Do we want in-person meetings with planned giving donors? Of course, yes.  But, many of the in-person planned giving experiences come through annual recognition luncheons or seminars.  If your planned giving donor is willing to meet individually, by all means go ahead and get the meeting – even if it’s more like a social call (that is what we call stewardship!).  But, these gifts don’t involve the same type of momentum that a major gift ask involves.  And, your donors are generally happy being invited to a special event or two a year.  And, as prospects get older, visits become more difficult for them and are usually pushed off anyway for various health and other reasons.

This is one of the big nuance differences between major gifts fundraising and planned giving fundraising. Both are fundraising and quite often from the same donors but not on the same timetable or pressures.  And, those meetings with planned giving donors, if you get them, are more often just a friendly check-in.  Important but very different than what major gifts fundraisers are doing.

Next post: If securing planned giving donor/prospect meetings isn’t the top priority, so what should a planned giving director or officer be doing with his or her time?!

Careers in Planned Giving – Part 3 – The Partial Planned Giving Officer

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We left off last week on the generally understood phenomenon that full-time planned giving officer positions are not widespread.  My hunch is that this will change, especially as baby-boomers move into planned giving territory (for another post).  But, for now, if you are interested in planned giving (career-wise), you are probably best advised to work in fundraising and pick up some planned giving responsibilities.

This works in a few common scenarios.

Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving – This a common position that seeks a major gifts fundraiser who will also cover planned giving. I choose my words carefully.  Most of these positions are primarily major gifts. The problem with these scenarios is that the major gifts piece usually consumes the fundraiser – leaving little or no time for much planned giving to happen.

In fact, these scenarios are usually recipes for planned giving mediocracy since the person who is supposed to implement the planned giving program is only judged on their major gift success.  So, for organizational leaders reading this post, think carefully before throwing planned giving into your major gift director’s lists of responsibilities.  If you have potential in planned giving, you may be severely hampering your organization in this area.

What you can you do as a major gifts fundraiser (you better be one or else you may not have a job for long) who has planned giving in your title and responsibilities to succeed on the planned giving front?

  1. Learn how to integrate planned giving into your major gift asks!  Make it part of the equation for most donors. Get used to using  your “legacy opener” with as many donors as possible (you’ll have to take our planned giving boot camp to find out more about that!) This may take some practice but it works.
  2. Learn to use outside vendors to get planned giving pieces out!  This may cost a few extra dollars but may save a ton of time and if done well, could bring in so many planned giving prospects that someone on staff may need to become full time in planned giving!
  3. Learn how to quantify all planned giving commitments. The majority of planned gifts are simple bequests -with no dollar figure until the donor passes.  Change that paradigm.  Create incentives for donors to reveal approximately what they plan – maybe matching gift campaigns or inclusion in a capital campaign.  Or, come up with an average bequest size.  If that is too difficult, use $50,000 as an average bequest size.

Director of other areas of fundraising (like annual fund or general fundraisers) that have planned giving as an extra responsibility.  This is even further removed from actually being required to do any planned giving since it isn’t even in your title.

You can always implement the three above suggestions and try to find ways to get the organization to at least add it to your job title. The key is to show results and potential.

In other words, money – get their attention with large planned gifts!  It works almost every time.

In the meantime, you can take training courses (like my boot camp!), join your local planned giving council, and also train yourself in personal financial planning!

When the time comes, if you have any planned giving donor experiences to share or other planned giving successes, you will be ready for a planned giving only job (pg director or pg officer). You don’t need certifications or fancy titles – just experience with donors and planned gifts.

Anyway, I am telling you right now – the nonprofit world is waking up to the need to staff-up in planned giving.  Get yourself some hands-on experience while working the annual fund or various other levels of donors and you will be good to go.

Next post: The Planned Giving Tidal Wave – How soon?