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Spring 2020
Issue 11 | Vol.2

The Source is published quarterly by the Minnesota Planned Giving Council


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Message from the Chair

By: Dana Holt
Chair, Minnesota Planned Giving Council

Dear MPGC Members,

Right now, things change on a minute-by-minute basis. We wake up each morning wondering, “What new twists and turns will emerge today?” In a sea of change, we want you to know that Minnesota Planned Giving Council is a constant in your life. Our members count on us for high-quality educational programming and meaningful networking. We are committed to bringing that to you no matter what!

The brand-new Virtual Task Force team is working swiftly to create a MPGC virtual experience. The team is made up of 15 dedicated volunteers from every one of our committees. Here is what we have in store for you:

Top-notch Virtual Education
We asked what topics are most important to you now and you told us. Based on your responses, we are developing a bi-monthly series of online webinars to teach you what you want to learn now. Many of you joined us for our first and second webinars, Next Level Crisis Communications with Casey Fuerst at Tic Tac Toe Marketing and Making the Case for Gift Planning Now featuring Craig Wruck. Watch your e-mail inbox for invitations to more on-line sessions from industry experts on topics like Distance Donor Relationships, CARES Act, and MORE!

Virtual Breakfast Meetings
You bring the bacon and coffee – we’ll bring the content. Our Program Committee has recruited a very impressive speaker line-up for 2020. Instead of getting together at Town & Country Club, we’ll be broadcasting them directly to your computer screen.

Virtual Member Happy Hours
We know you rely on MPGC for meaningful networking, so the Membership Committee will be hosting a member-only Virtual Happy Hour every other Thursday from 4-5pm. Relax and connect with your MPGC family. It’s a time to see your friends, share success stories, and get support from those you count on.

What about the Annual Conference?
We’re crossing our fingers and toes that the 2020 Annual Conference will still be held in person at Minneapolis Institute of Arts this October. That may not be possible, so we are exploring technology to bring you a virtual conference experience. Stay tuned for more developments on that.

How can you help?
Please consider joining one of the fun and vital MPGC committees. Do you enjoy event planning? Do you have a head for numbers? Do you like to teach gift planning? Do you like to mentor new gift planners? There are committees for all of those things and MORE. We value your talent and want to welcome you. Learn more and sign-up HERE!

Thank you for being a member! You’ve made us the largest and most active council in the nation! That’s no accident. We are a product of the outstanding professionals who have joined together to make Minnesota Planned Giving Council THE VERY BEST! We will get through this crisis together and come out stronger on the other side.

All my best,
Dana J. Holt, JD AEP® CAP®                                   

MPGC 2020 Breakfast Programs & Education Webinars

Join MPGC for the our newly expanded Breakfast programs and Educational webinar offerings! Registration and more information about the upcoming programs will be available soon, with additional dates/topics added as we navigate forward.             


2020 Annual Member Survey Summary

In March of 2020, MPGC sent out our annual member survey. 87 members out of our total 287 member base responded, or 30%. The following are some highlights from the results:

Almost 40% of respondents have been members of MPGC for more than 10 years.

  • The result illustrates that not only do we have many long-standing members, but they find value in their membership and continue to renew year after year. It also highlights, along with the average age band of respondents, that many of our members will likely retire in the next 10 years. The Board of Directors has set this as a strategic priority for 2020 as we look to refresh our MPGC logo and brand in order to continue to stay relevant and attract new members.

In what sector do you work?

 Education 37%
 Health Care 15%
Social/Human Service 15%
Religion/Church 7%
Consulting 3%
Arts 2%
Environment 2%
Finance 2%
Legal Services 2%
Miscellaneous/Other 15%

What Percentage of your job is dedicated to planned giving?

100% 14%
75-99% 11%
50-74% 15%
24-49% 14%
10-24% 26%
Less than 10%        20%

Many great suggestions were made by members about session topics for future conferences, ideas around how to enhance the breakfast seminars, and ways to make the MPGC website more user-friendly and heighten its value as a resource for current industry trends and topics. Members also mentioned the challenge of attending the breakfast seminars and annual conference when living outside the Metro area. These members appreciate webinars and the opportunity they provide to stay connected and up-to-date on current trends from a distance and encouraged the Board of Directors to continue to seek ways to support this important sector of our member base.

Thank you to the 87 members that took the time to complete our annual survey. The results will be used by the Board of Directors and the various committee as we plan programming and communications for the remainder of the year. 

From the MPGC Development Committee

MPGC has gone Virtual!

MPGC is committed to providing timely and in-depth educational sessions for our current and prospective members. In addition to our breakfast educational sessions that will be held online in a webinar format over the next months, we have added even more webinar sessions on topics of interest.

In addition to expanded content, we are now offering special sponsorship opportunities for organizations to connect with our members while supporting our virtual education sessions. 

These sponsorship packages give your organization expanded exposure to MPGC’s membership and attendees throughout the year. Not only are these opportunities a great value, they are also customizable to meet your goals.

Check out these opportunities here  and contact us to join in these efforts. We look forward to your support!

Please contact Development Committee Co-Chairs (Inez Bergquist at and Sheryl Morrison at to support the great work MPGC is doing in the philanthropic community. 

Leave a Legacy MN Launches Spring
Legacy Giving at Lunch Series 


Upcoming webinars:

May 20 | 12 pm
Legacy Giving at Lunch Spring Series: Stewarding Donors in the digital (and not-so-digital) age

June 11 | 12 pm
Legacy Giving at Lunch Spring Series: What do our donors have to say?

View the April 8 webinar recording - Tax Reform and Its Effects on Charitable Giving 

Frankly Speaking – Guest column for The Source

By: Frank Robertson, MPGC member



I had originally intended this article to be about the importance of being responsive to donors’ needs – treating them with the same respect and attention you give your own family. In other words, making their concerns and well-being your first priority - the first agenda item on your daily routine.

However, the current COVID-19 crisis has added a new dimension to this already vital aspect of our jobs. Many of us were working in development when our country experienced the terror attacks on September 11, 2001 and more recently, the economic downturn known as the Great Recession of 2007-2009. However, neither of these events can compare to the tremendous healthcare issues, social disruption, and economic chaos that all of us are now experiencing. To make matters worse, many, if not most, of our planned gift donors and prospective donors tend to be in the “over 70” age group that is particularly at risk right now, not only health-wise, but also financially.

Planned giving weathered the first two national calamities relatively unscathed. However, the loss of market value during the Great Recession did have an impact. I remember that one of our most prominent donors in the last capital campaign I worked on passed away during this time. He had designated a large percentage of his qualified retirement plan as a charitable gift to supplement his outright campaign giving. Unfortunately, his realized gift was only a fraction of what he had intended it to be when he completed his estate plan. He was not alone and this is something to keep in mind.

As development professionals, what can or should we be doing during the current COVID-19 crisis? One of the key things is to stay connected to our donors, prospective donors, and their advisors. Self-isolation and “social distancing” adversely affect the operations of our organizations in many ways, including the cancellation or postponement of events. Our donor friends want and need to know how we are accomplishing the mission that they have been supporting. They also need to know that we are prudently managing our endowments during this difficult time. Timely communication about the circumstances and decisions of today and the plans for the future is key.

Communicating with donors and prospects is further complicated by the need to keep socially distant. Personal home visits, lunch dates, and joint meetings with professional advisors are impossible under current conditions. Working remotely from home, even without the distraction of having children out of school, can be a challenge. Naturally, the phone is the best alternative to face-to-face meetings. For our friends who use email, this can also be a viable alternative. However, many older donors may not even have a computer, which means you must continue to employ regular contact through the US mail.

We will eventually get through the current crisis, be able to re-engage our donors and friends personally, get back to the business of providing personal stewardship, presenting gift proposals, planning events and campaigns and doing the other important parts of our jobs. For right now, however, staying in touch with our philanthropic partners, responding to their questions and concerns, and focusing on keeping them at the center of everything we do is critical and, as always, remains our number one priority! 

About the Author

Frank Robertson

Frank Robertson is an MPGC member and the 2018 recipient of the Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award. He is also a mentor through MPGC’s Gary G. Hargroves Mentorship Program. Frank began his 22-year career at the University of Minnesota as alumni relations director and development officer in the College of Science and Engineering. He joined the planned giving staff at the University of Minnesota Foundation in 1997, and became director in 2005. He retired as senior director of planned giving in January 2015. Before entering the development world, Frank served 25 years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. 

10 Strategies for Post-COVID Fundraising in Complex & Major Gifts

By: Dr. Russell James J.D., Ph.D., CFP®
Professor of Charitable Financial Planning at Texas Tech University

The market went down. A lot. The economy is temporarily frozen. Unemployment may increase dramatically. In the past, all of these things have been bad for charitable giving. We can’t control that. So, what can we control? What strategies make sense for fundraising, in particular for complex and major gifts?

Read more here.

Legacy Fundraising: The Best of Times or the Worst of Times?
By: Russell N. James III, JD, PhD, CFP® Professor & CH Foundation Chair in Personal Financial Planning Director of Graduate Studies in Charitable Planning Texas Tech University and Michael J. Rosen President, ML Innovations, Inc. Author, Donor-Centered Planned Gift Marketing Publisher, the Michael Rosen Says blog

The death media currently inundate us with panic-inducing news. Ubiquitous reports about the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Daily death tolls. Images of people in masks or complete hazmat suits. Talk of overwhelmed hospitals. News of quarantined regions and nations.

What should a legacy fundraiser do in the midst of a societal crisis? Stop communicating altogether? Make a last-minute push to get into a donor’s Will before it’s too late? Something in between? All of the above?

To get some guidance, it helps to start with a bit of social-science theory, a look at recent financial history, and early empirical data.

Read more here

Additional Resources from Get Fully Funded

Secrets of Working from Home Successfully

Working from home is a dream for many!

The thought of not commuting, hanging out with your pets all day, being able to grab something from the fridge when you want, and following your own schedule sounds almost luxurious!

Now that you may have no CHOICE but to work from home, the reality is quite a bit different.

Read more here.

How to Cultivate Donors and Ask from a Distance

Thanks to the coronavirus, many of us are working from home, maintaining social distance, and trying to stay healthy. We’re also trying to figure out how to cultivate donors when we can’t get face to face.

As the world faces challenges that we’ve never experienced before, nonprofit leaders need to come up with creative new ways to connect with donors and build those all-important relationships.

Read more here

Welcome, New Members!

Amy Dauplaise -  Phoenix Alternatives, Inc.
Anne Haddad - Haddad Consulting
Heather Logelin - St. Croix Valley Foundation
Jessica Moes - African Wildlife Foundation
Holly Witt - Alexandria Area Community Foundation
David Woods - Presbyterian Homes Foundation

New members always welcome; refer a friend or colleague today! 
Do you know someone who would benefit from MPGC membership? Encourage them to join now for half the price while our Half4Half membership campaign is running. That's half the membership price ($67.50) for full member benefits - access to member rates for events, exclusive networking opportunities and more! 

Potential members can visit join page and enter the "Half4Half2020" discount code during checkout.  

The Source is looking for a few good contributors

Now, more than ever, it is important for MPGC members to keep current and share trends and valuable techniques with others. The Source e-newsletter is a great way to get published while helping inform members and friends about MPGC.

Whether it is a unique donor experience, an article regarding a proven giving strategy, or a web link to a planned giving resource of interest to our members, we want to hear from you.

If you have an expertise or experience in the area that you want to share with the MPGC membership, contact one of our MPGC Communications Committee members:

Karla Healy | Chair |
Alison E. Roberts, CFRE |
Jennifer White | Editor |
Lynn Praska |
Helene Benitez |
Jennifer Scholl |

The ideas expressed in articles are solely the opinions of the authors and do not represent any position taken or advice given by MPGC. Any calculations are for illustration purposes only and should not be considered legal, accounting, or other professional advice.

Copyright ©2020 Minnesota Planned Giving Council. All rights reserved.