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Summer 2020
Issue 11 | Vol. 3

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

Hello and Happy Summer to YOU!

On behalf of the board of directors, I extend our most sincere wishes that you and your family are staying healthy and enjoying a beautiful Minnesota summer.

Over the past five months we’ve all adapted to new ways of doing just about everything. The way we go about our work has changed, but the vital need for what we do has not. If anything, the importance of fundraising for important causes has become even more apparent at every turn. With that in mind, our dedication to our members has never been stronger.

While many councils around the nation are falling on hard times, we are prospering and taking steps to make this organization even stronger. I’m really excited to share what’s been going on behind the scenes lately.

First, I’m overjoyed to unveil the new look and refreshed name for our organization – the Minnesota Gift Planning Association. We embarked upon a complete re-branding process because our brand should reflect who we are today, who we want to be in the future, as well as pay homage to our long history of leadership in the field of gift planning. It should also inspire more development professionals to want to join with us. The final step of the rebranding process includes a new, more user-friendly website which will be unveiled over the next few months.

Next, our dedicated volunteers are working hard to craft a world-class virtual annual conference for you this October. You still need connection and professional development and that’s what you’ll get with this affordable, content-rich program. We are combining the very best in virtual education technology with the very best speakers to bring you the most value for your dollar.

Lastly, the board is currently creating practices and procedures that address diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of what we do. It is our goal to dissolve barriers to participation; and shine a light on voices that have been systemically silenced. Diversity is the key to our success. It is our responsibility to make sure everyone has the opportunity to participate and benefit at every level of this organization. You will have the opportunity to participate and contribute to this ongoing process. Please stay tuned for more details to come this year.

Thank you for your continued membership! You ARE the Minnesota Gift Planning Association and you make us strong and vibrant.

All my best,
Dana Holt, Board Chair                     

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Introducing a New Look and New Name

We, the members of MPGC, are known for our professionalism, strong network, and generosity in sharing knowledge and resources. We are known for being a valued asset for the fundraising and financial services professionals - whether you are new to the profession or a seasoned veteran. We are known for being the best, and we want to continue our work in all of these areas!

As our board and leadership committees have worked hard to continue to grow and develop our people and program offerings, we felt it was also time to update our brand. As a result, the board created a rebranding subcommittee tasked with interviewing and hiring an outside rebranding firm. Once the rebranding firm was in place, focus groups made up of both new and established members were invited to a half day of in-person interviews and discussions about the organization. The information gathered was then used to create a new brand reflective of who we are, what we do and what makes us so special.

“I am beyond proud of the work our volunteers and re-branding consultant, TicTacToe Marketing, have done to help create this exciting new look and name,” said Dana Holt, MPGC Board Chair. “This new brand reflects the vibrant, professional organization we are today and will be for decades to come. This is a pivotal moment for us as we look to grow within our region and become an even more significant leader on the national gift planning stage.”

We are proud to share with you our new organization name and brand identity! The new name and branding will be rolled out in phases. Plus, watch for an updated more user friendly website coming soon!

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Register today for the 44th Annual Conference
We may be coming together virtually this year, but the conference committee is working hard to bring you the outstanding speakers and high-quality content you expect from our annual conference.


Conference: October 28-29, 2020
Brisk Walk through the Basics: October 21, 2020

We are excited to announce four of the featured plenary speakers you will hear from when you join us for our two day virtual conference. Additional speakers will be announced soon!

Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE, Amy Eisenstein, LLC



Acooa Lee Ellis, Senior Vice President of Community Impact, Greater Twin Cities United Way

Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP®, Professor, Texas Tech University

Sarah K. Nathan, Ph.D., Associate Director, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy 

Register now to receive the early bird price!

Attendee Type  Early-Bird Rate Regular Rate
(after 9/13)
Conference Only

Member: $175
Non-Member: $275

Member: $199
Non-Member: $299

Brisk Walk Only $75  $99
+ Brisk Walk
Member: $275
Non-Member: $375
Member: $299
Non-Member: $399
+ Annual Conference
Member: $310
Member: $334
+ Annual Conference
+ Brisk Walk
Member: $385
Member: $433
Retiree Member: $75
Non-Member: $175
Member: $99
Non-Member: $199
Group Rate
(4+ attendees from same organization)

Fee reduced $40/attendee; only available for Conference Only & Conference Only + Brisk Walk ticket types

Fee reduced $40/attendee; only available for Conference Only & Conference Only + Brisk Walk ticket types

Conference attendance also includes full recordings of the plenary and breakout sessions to view at your convenience for one month following the conference. 


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Support MPGC through Sponsorship!

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 several months, we are taking our annual conference virtual.

We’ve updated our sponsorship packet with opportunities that bring value to our sponsors through annual, virtual and conference options.

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 the 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.

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Leave a Legacy MN Launches Autumn Legacy Giving at Lunch Series 


Upcoming webinars:

September 10 | 12 pm
Join us for a FREE webinar as we talk about asking constituents to consider making a charitable bequest.

A panel discussion hosted by:

  • Carl Newbanks, Initiative Foundation
  • Rebecca Petersen, West Central Initiative Foundation and
  • Scott Nelson, Benedictine Foundation

Register here

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Frankly Speaking – Guest column for The Source

By: Frank Robertson, MPGC member


Planned giving is a marketing-driven form of fundraising. Gifts from a person’s estate that can affect their or their loved ones’ future financial security are not made lightly – they require much thought and repeated messaging. Your organization may be only one of many that your donors support. Therefore, you must keep reminding them that future gifts are important to you, both estate gifts and life-income gifts, and educate them about the various options and opportunities available to accomplish their personal and philanthropic goals. This ensures that you will have a seat at the table when these important decisions are being made.


Speaking of tables, one of my favorite stories involved a visit I made to a senior donor in her home at her request. While seated at her kitchen table, she produced a 3-ring binder containing copies of our print newsletter going back several years - she had read and kept every one! Some event in her life had recently occurred that told her now was the time to initiate the conversation. On a related note, I was often amused at how our marketing staff would drop by my office a week or two after our newsletter was mailed and ask: “how many gifts did you get as a result of this issue?” My standard response was “come back in five or ten years, and I’ll tell you!” 


In my previous organization, we had the good fortune of having a robust marketing and communications department with a budget that permitted designing and printing our own marketing materials with custom content. Smaller organizations may not have that luxury. However some vendors who provide “off the shelf” newsletters and brochures will allow you to insert your own photos, and even an actual donor story, as opposed to generic articles that may be used by other organizations communicating with your donors. The rule of thumb is, customize your marketing to the greatest extent possible – people recognize generic products and will treat them accordingly. One of the most effective marketing tools at your disposal is a photo of your staff that can be included along with names and contact information. A photo of you in front of the donor when you call them can enhance the conversation substantially.


As any experienced gift planner knows, your best planned gift prospects are those who have been consistent annual gift donors of any amount. One of the most effective and economical marketing tools can be the annual gift envelope or online gift form that is included in your organization’s magazine or with periodic annual fund appeals. All that is needed are two lines with check-blocks somewhere on the envelope: “I have included a gift to ________in my estate plan” and “I would like information about how I can make a gift from my estate.” When these envelopes (or online gift forms) are returned to your gift processing office along with the donor’s check or credit card information, it is crucial that the gift processors flag them and send you any envelopes that have one of these two estate gift blocks checked. You can immediately follow up, either to initiate stewardship, or to engage in a thoughtful discussion.

The bottom line: investing in a thoughtful, customized and continuous planned gift marketing program can pay big dividends and should be a major part of any annual work plan and budget planning. 


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.

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Welcome, New Members!

Gretchen Ambrosier - University of MN - Athletics
David Murphy
Robyn Rost -
University of MN College of Liberal Arts
Wendy Thon - Mayo Clinic - Department of Development

2021 Membership Renewal
Watch your inboxes later this month for information on renewing your MPGC membership for our upcoming program year. If you plan to register for the conference you can also choose to renew your membership at the same time.

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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:

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

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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.

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