Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council
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2021 Programs

Gift Acceptance Models that Work: Building on Opportunities for Noncash Gifts

August 24, 2024

Real Estate Gift Acceptance Policy
Russell James--Cash is NOT King
Howard University Real Estate Check List
Gift Prospect Referral Form
CFRE Tracker

How We Do It: Making the Internal Case for a Gift Planning Program
July 13, 2021

Business Case for Gift Planning
Form-Quarterly Report
Form-Estates Heading Handout
CFRE Tracker

Donor Stories in Planned Giving Marketing – To Use or Not to Use (Virtual)
Claudine A. Donikian, JD, MBA President & CEO
May 18, 2021

Meeting Handout

The planned giving industry assumes that donor stories are an effective way to inspire other donors and to increase engagement, including response, in marketing materials. But what is it about donor stories that inspires prospective donors to make gifts? Could certain donor stories have the opposite effect and decrease engagement and response?

To date there has been no formal, large-scale research study conducted on planned giving marketing materials to support or counter those assumptions—until now. The Pentera research study to be presented analyzes two key e-mail metrics: The click-through rate and the response rate from tens of thousands of eNewsletters that went to millions of prospective donors over several years. The study includes the surprising key finding that certain types of donor stories can actually decrease response rates. Based on the findings of the study, we will recommend when to use donor stories in marketing materials and when not to as well as what types to avoid. Guidelines are presented on how to write effective donor stories and donor blurbs to get the best response rates possible.

Digital Branding: Advancing Your Outreach, Engagement and Storytelling
March 31, 2021

Meeting Handout

Three Charitable Strategies for Clients with IRAs and Retirement Plans
Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Jim Lange will describe and analyze multiple strategies that will offer your clients some exceptional incentives to leave more money to charity. They are tax-savvy. They will definitely benefit the charity and have the potential to benefit the family…all at the expense of the IRS.

The first innovative strategy compares the outcomes of (1) leaving an IRA or retirement plan to the children (or any non-spousal heir) and (2) leaving the same money to a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) with the heir as the “income” beneficiary of the CRUT.

Before the 2020 SECURE Act, CRUTs were rarely named as beneficiaries of IRAs. But with the income tax-nightmare provision in the SECURE Act mandating that IRAs must be distributed and taxed within ten years of the IRA owners’ death—subject to some exceptions--everything has changed.

CRUTs as the beneficiary of an IRA offer a key exception to the ten-year income tax acceleration nightmare. CRUTS come as close to the old “stretch IRA” as you can get. This strategy will significantly reduce the short-term income tax bill that the family would otherwise be forced to pay.

This strategy will not be broadly appropriate for all IRA and retirement plan owners. But it will be appropriate for many. We will examine some appropriate situations and provide the theory and math behind the decisions.

We will also review a simple strategy that is commonly botched: which dollars (IRA, investments, after-tax) to leave to a charity. Lange Legal Group has reviewed more than 1,000 estate plans drafted by other lawyers and it is rarely treated correctly.

The webinar will also cover charitable strategies for clients with children of different financial strengths. For example, it might make sense for a child in a high-income tax bracket to inherit a Roth IRA and/or after-tax dollars. A child in a lower tax bracket or a child who does not manage money well could be named as the “income” beneficiary of the CRUT. Often both children are better off. Once again, the loser is the IRS and/or potential creditors of the child with money management issues.

Finally, if time allows, we will review qualified charitable deductions (QCDs).

2020 Programs

Three Research-based Methods to Turbocharge Your Planned Giving Program (Virtual)
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Cathy is on a mission to help nonprofits raise more planned and major gifts.  Cathy is a nationally recognized planned giving thought leader with 25-years in healthcare and higher education. From the moment you meet Cathy, you will recognize her enthusiasm for her work, appreciate her collaborative method for achieving results for both donors and nonprofit organizations alike, and welcome her sense of humor. 

Cathy serves on the American Council on Gift Annuities Board of Directors, is the current President of the Fort Worth Metro Chapter of AFP and was the 2017 Board Chair of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners.   Cathy is a faculty member of the American Institute for Philanthropic Studies which administers the Certified Specialist in Planned Giving designation program. Cathy is a co-host of Charitable Chit Chat with Cathy & Claire, a radio show for philanthropy professionals. 

Cathy received her MBA from Texas Christian University and her undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University.  

Neighborhood Block Party: A Roundtable Discussion on Planned Giving Best Practices

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Join the PPGC community for a well-crafted roundtable discussion designed with specific questions to help you share ideas and learn from others.  Please come prepared to share your thoughts, best practices and experiences with your fellow PPGC neighbors

Stuck in the Middle With You: Donor, Planner, Business Officer

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 

Artful negotiation doesn’t apply only to the closing of a great gift. Sometimes negotiating a complex, blended or even standard gift with internal partners can be an equal challenge. This webinar explores the important aspects of the gift process from the lens of the person making the gift, the person closing the gift, and the partner on the inside tasked with counting the gift. How can effective communication and greater transparency promote a deeper understanding of the perspective each partner brings? What are the special considerations necessary to make certain there are no surprises along the way for the donor or the organization/institution? How do elements such as changes in the tax code and gift counting policies impact the planning and gift process? And how can the receipting, counting and recognition processes create a gift that feels like a remarkable win for all parties involved? Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the key concerns important to each partner, and helpful tips to “bridge the GAAP” between the donor and the business office. Learn how a better understanding and artful negotiation can turn adversaries into advocates, better supporting your organizational/ institutional goals and creating a more rewarding work environment.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a deeper understanding the potential gift, receipting and recognition issues from the perspective of all three partners, from the person making the gift to the person counting it on the nonprofit’s side.
  • Develop a better understanding of “the language of giving” from the partner constituencies, including who should be at the table for various aspects of the gift discussions and considerations, and how to break the language barriers through good processes.
  • Acquire helpful tips for negotiating and securing a gift that all parties can celebrate as a win for your institution/organization.


Presented by:

Christopher Kelly

With more than 30 years of experience in trust, estate and philanthropic planning, Christopher L. Kelly is the Director of Major and Planned Giving with the Schoolcraft College Foundation. Christopher began his career in charitable planning on the financial side of "the table" serving as a philanthropic advisor with bank and brokerage house trust companies, such as PNC Institutional Asset Management, Comerica Charitable Services Group, and Merrill Lynch Trust Company Center for Philanthropy. He is a frequent guest speaker at conferences, most recently at the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) national conference, as well as educational programs and donor seminars across the country. He is a member of the Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan, Past President of the Council Board, past Leave-A-Legacy Chair and chaired the Mentoring Program. He served on the National Board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and was the Chair of the 2013 National Conference in Minneapolis. Christopher is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Detroit Chapter and before joining the gift planning community he was a professional Opera Singer debuting with the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit, Michigan and has performed with various opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States, in Europe, and on PBS and NPR. 

Melanie Norton

Melanie J. Norton is the founder and lead consultant for Norton Philanthropic Counsel (NPC), a full-service philanthropic consulting firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, dedicated to highly-customized and relationship-focused strategies that blend the art and science of philanthropy to promote client success. Prior to the launch of NPC, Melanie was most recently the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement at DePauw University, where she led a team of 40 full-time professionals to a successful $320 million comprehensive campaign nearly two years in advance of the targeted campaign end. Melanie was previously a consultant with Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, consulting on all phases of philanthropic work, and also spent eleven years in leadership roles in gift planning and major gifts for DePauw and Franklin College. Melanie’s first career was at Fifth Third Bank where she served as an AVP in the Retail and Trust Investment Advisors divisions for seven years. Melanie is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and holds an M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a B.A. in business from Franklin College. She was the 2016 national board chair for the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and is also a past president and former board member for the Planned Giving Group of Indiana, as well as the Rotary Club of Indianapolis Sunrise. Melanie also served on the board of the Independent College Advancement Associates as well as several other volunteer and social service organizations. 

Cue and Clues...Responding Now to What Prospects Tell You Are Impediments to Giving

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

The gift planner’s role is to move the gift consideration process forward, to keep it going. We often have to think beyond our employer’s notion of the appropriate gift and offer real suggestions that address issues a donor may perceive as impediments to giving. In most cases, the plans we offer are simple and repeatable, and their appeal is greatly enhanced when they respond to the many cues and clues prospects continually offer us about their dreams, life stages, family issues and assets. This session will empower you to respond in real time to what your prospects tell you, to move the gift consideration process in a positive and progressive direction, and to be the spark that ignites a great idea for a gift.

  • Actively listen to what donors and prospects are telling you about their perceived impediments to giving.
  • Act on the maxim, "if we do not ask, the answer is always no" and proactively suggest gift planning ideas that address the concerns prospects are telling us  about.
  • Feel comfortable making referrals to other advisors when gift discussion exceed your own expertise.

Presented by: Pamela Davidson

Pamela Jones Davidson, JD, has been a nationally-recognized speaker in charitable gift planning for decades. She is President of Davidson Gift Design in Bloomington, Indiana, a consulting firm specializing in motivational presentations about all aspects of gift planning, planned giving program design and implementation and training. She is also a Senior Vice President for Thompson & Associates, offering estate planning services to nonprofits. From 1985 through 1996, she was Executive Director of Planned Giving and Associate Counsel for Indiana University Foundation. Pam received her undergraduate degree from Indiana University in 1975, and graduated  magna cum laude from the Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis in 1979. She was an examiner in the Estate and Gift Tax Division of the Internal Revenue Service, and practiced law with an Indianapolis law firm before joining the nonprofit sector in 1985. Pam was the 1999 President of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, after serving on its board for six years. She was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2018, in its second class. She is a past board member and treasurer of the Indiana Chapter of AFP, and a past board member and president of the Planned Giving Group of Indiana. She serves on the Community Advisory Boards of both of her local public radio and television stations and on other local boards.

Disasters, Crises and Downturns: Policies to Protect Giving

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

There is no data that perfectly predicts what will happen to philanthropy in a time of concurrent pandemic, economic downturn and inequality and racial unrest.  But there is A LOT of data to be analyzed from crises and downturns in the past. Giving stretched and contracted in various configurations during the Great Recession of 2008, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, 9/11, hurricanes, tsunamis and wars. In this program, Dr. Rooney will review what we’ve learned in previous crises and consider the effect of policies, including the CARES Act, intended to encourage giving during these challenging times.

What you’ll learn

  • How to make realistic comparisons between past downturns and the current economic climate.
  • How disaster giving affects other types of philanthropy during times of crisis.
  • How past policy changes, including TCJA, have affected charitable giving, and how to advocate for the most effective policies to stimulate additional giving.

Presented by: Patrick Rooney
Executive Associate Dean of Academic Programs, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy  

Patrick M. Rooney is professor of economics and philanthropic studies, and the Executive Associate Dean for Academic Programs at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Previously, as Executive Director of the school’s predecessor, the Center on Philanthropy, he worked with its faculty, board, and campus and university administration to establish the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the world’s first school of philanthropy. As the center’s first full-time Director of Research, Patrick created its formal in-house research program, building it into one of the premier philanthropy research organizations in the nation. Among many projects, he led the research for Giving USA (published by Giving USA Foundation). Other school and center research clients included: Bank of America, American Express, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Independent Sector, the NFL, Target Corporation, United Way of America, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Patrick has presented research to the White House and federal officials of three administrations. He has served on several local and national boards and advisory groups. He earned his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Notre Dame.

The SECURE Act Planning for Impact on Inherited IRAs

Tuesday, June 9, 2020 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

Presented by:  James M. Rosa, Principal at HBK

Presentation Slides

Presentation Video

The elimination of the “stretch” IRA in favor of the “10-year rule” has significant implications to IRA owners.  This change will decrease wealth transfer and require estate plan updates.  Every advisor needs to understand the impact and the planning possibilities.  In this presentation, Jim Rosa will cover the following points:

  •  Review the stretch IRA provisions which still applies to inherited IRAs for an IRA owner who died before 2020
  • The conduit trust RMD problem and solutions – why most conduit trusts may not be appropriate
  • Reformations and decanting to avoid a spendthrift
  • Selecting the right “heir” to receive the IRA and the best strategy for different beneficiaries 
  • Managing family tax brackets
  • Understanding the taxation of trusts named as IRA beneficiaries
  • Using Charitable Remainder Trusts
  • Roth IRA conversion planning
  • Life insurance may be a solution especially with the charitably minded

The Cryptocurrency Contingency: Planning for Digital Gifts

Tuesday, March 3, 2020 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

Cryptocurrencies may be an emerging asset class, but they aren’t a small one: with a market value of $300 billion, it’s worth considering whether and how your organization will start accepting digital gifts. In this presentation, you will learn the basics of how cryptocurrency works; possible pitfalls among the different storage, transfer, and liquidation methods; and what the IRS has to say about transacting in virtual currency, including recent guidance for charitable organizations.

Presented by: Erica Wilson from ReedSmith

2017-2019 Programs

Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council

PO Box 9729
Pittsburgh, PA 15229

office@ppgc.net     *     412-206-1447

The information contained on this site is not intended as legal or tax advice and is provided solely for informational purposes to the members of the Pittsburgh Planned Giving Council.

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