Friday, February 14, 2014

At the keyboard, or at the table?

Demographics, the economy and public policy may change, and all will impact philanthropy, but there will always be a job for gift planners who can use the tools found in planned gift software. Many nonprofits need a person who can model charitable options for any donor, however small, who wants such information. For-profits, like the larger banks, and some community foundations and large single issue charities, are hiring such technicians. I hope the trend continues. But the emerging job, and highest paid job, is for the gift planner who can also convene a team to place the tools within an overall legacy plan, with the help of the client/donor’s other advisors.

As I see it, the features you find in the popular software systems are tactics, or tools, or strategies—not plans. They are constituents of a larger estate plan, retirement plan, business exit plan, financial plan or legacy plan. The planning process per se (as taught in the financial services field) elicits donor/client goals, gathers appropriate facts (balance sheet, income statement, existing legal arrangements) and seeks to achieve optimal outcomes for self, family, and community. To achieve that involves many tools—some charitable, some not charitable—coordinated together, as part of an overall plan. Here is a daunting example from Dave Holaday.

Advisors struggle to elicit high and noble client motivation, and to connect the dollars from charitable tools, like DAF, Foundation, CLT, CRT, to specific outcomes via specific gift agreements and specific programs at specific nonprofits. You will note how non-specific the massive Holaday plan is about charitable outcomes. What is planned in his example is tax; the tool used is charitable in the end, but there is no specific charitable purpose and no connections as far as I can see to a specific program at any specific charity. This is planning for “the charity of your choice,” as opposed to specific impact. To factor such impact into the plan, the estate planner needs gift planner involvement.

Who will convene the team? Could be the estate planner, could be the gift planner, but the net result is what Holaday has done here, as daunting as that is, plus more. The more part, in this case, is planning how the big money in the foundation will go to work for the community.

The vision of planning accomplished by a team is essentially the vision outlined in the 2008 PPP white paper on The Future of Gift Planning. I believe it is the future of planning for the highest capacity donors. Gift planners working for charities need technical expertise and an appetite for negotiation and collaboration to sit at that table. 

About Phil Cubeta

As the Sallie B. and William B. Wallace Chair in Philanthropy at The American College, Phil Cubeta, CLU®, ChFC®, MSFS, CAP® is responsible for the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®) curriculum.

Prior to joining The American College, Phil worked for New York Life Insurance Company in a variety of roles in training, instructional design, financial planning, and advanced underwriting. From 1991 to 1993, he headed up New York Life's Charitable Giving Network of Agents. From 1995 to 2008, he served as Chief of Staff for The Nautilus Group, a service of New York Life Insurance Company providing estate, business, and philanthropic strategies to affluent clients through 200 of the company's top agents.

Phil's original training was in English Literature, Williams College, BA; Philosophy and Psychology, Oxford University, MA; and English Language and Literature, Yale, MA, M.Phil.

Phil served for 10 years on the Education Committee of the Dallas Social Venture Partners and is a Past-President of the Dallas Council of Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (formerly NCPG). He is on the Board of Interfaith Worker Justice and on the Professional Advisory Committee for Inspired Legacies. Phil also serves on the board of Advisors in Philanthropy. Essays by Phil on philanthropy have appeared in Tracy Gary's Inspired Legacies, Your Step by Step Guide to Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy (Wiley and Sons: 2008); H. Peter Karoff, The World We Want: New Dimensions in Philanthropy and Social Change (Altimira Press: 2007); and Amy Kass, Doing Well Doing Good: Readings for Thoughtful Philanthropists (Indiana University Press: 2008). Phil has been quoted, or been the subject of articles, in The New York Times, The Journal of Gift Planning, Lifestyles Magazine, Financial Planning, and the Financial Times.

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