Welcome to the LACGP Newsletter. This e-newsletter is sent out on a monthly basis. The newsletter provides links to this page. Please see below for the items that appeared in the June 2021 issue.

A Glimpse Into the Future

By Patience Boudreaux, CSPG, CFRE

As California opens back up, I have felt a change in the energy people are bringing to their everyday lives. Your LACGP board is also energized about what is now possible in a reopened community and I wanted to share with you now some of what you can expect from us in terms of in-person and virtual programming for our 2021-2022 year. 

Over the summer, we will have some webinar sessions – one will be on the history of planned giving to provide context for the power gift planning can have for our donors/clients, their families, and organizations. Our September General Meeting will be virtual, and the sessions will feature everyone’s favorite topic: data! For real, the speakers we’ve lined up will provide an approachable look at how we can use the data available to us to identify who is ready to engage in gift planning to make the best use of our time. This is a difficult topic for many of us to engage in, but I promise you will walk away intrigued about how you can immediately start putting ideas into action to improve your results. 

November’s General Meeting (and those that follow it) will be IN PERSON! We are moving these meetings to the University Club in Pasadena. This shift comes with some exciting changes: we recognize the time involved in attending General Meetings has been a consideration so we’ll be shifting the meal included with the meeting to a breakfast, cutting the number of sessions down to two, but also ending earlier so that attendees have time to schedule Pasadena-based donor and client visits following the meeting (or a networking lunch with an LACGP friend!), and reducing the cost of attendance. 

Our 31st Annual Western Regional Planned Giving Conference will be in person at the Westin South Coast Plaza on May 25-27, 2022. Mark your calendars and get excited! At this conference, we will be celebrating not one but three Distinguished Service Award recipients – our community is full of superstars and this is our chance to say thank you to those who have given so much to us all through their insight, achievements, and professional example. 

Our October PG101 training course is evolving into a series with a February PG201 follow-up. While I feel confident saying that PG201 will be in person, we will be considering how to best position PG101 to provide an experience that as many people as possible can participate in. We will email a survey to the LACGP community about their preference for these and other sessions – I do hope you will provide feedback which can help ensure that the programs and formats of offerings will meet the needs of you and your teams as we all adjust to a post-reopening California. Here’s to a new year full of possibilities! 

LACGP: A Historical Look Back and Forward

By Janice Burrill, JD, CAP, LACGP Board of Directors, National Liaison and Legislative Chair

Believe it or not, LACPG is almost 40 years old! It has gone by various acronyms during its illustrious existence. Maybe you’ve heard some of old-timers talk about “roundtable” events or use certain historical “alphabet soup”...PGRT-SC, PPPLA, and finally LACGP.

Do you recognize any or all of these variations on a theme? I do, but I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the planned giving community since 1990, so I am a bit of “an institution” (as some say) and probably why I was asked to write this historical perspective on our wonderful council.

Once upon a time in the early 1980s, a group of local fundraisers gathered after hearing a planned giving presentation at NSFRE and decided there was a great need for a local association geared to the needs of the planned giving professional. At the time, there was only a planned giving group in NYC, so these planned giving pioneers started the Planned Giving Roundtable of S. California (PGRT-SC) in 1982, with Tonny van der Leeden (with City of Hope) as its first President. The group encompassed all of S. California from San Diego to Santa Barbara and initial meetings were literally around a round table. PGRT—SC was one of the first two planned giving councils in the country, providing the blueprint for many to come.

In 1988, the demand nationally for advanced training and professional ethics led to the formation of what is now the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (NACPG). The Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner, the National Planned Giving Conference, and Leave a Legacy were all created by the then National Committee on Planned Giving (NCPG). There are currently over 100 planned giving councils with thousands of members nationally.

As our local Council matured, PGRT-SC membership grew to over 300 members, hosting bimonthly meetings often welcoming 100 attendees. The Council added an annual Masters Symposium which was later incorporated in an advanced track at the Western Regional Planned Giving Conference. This popular Conference, now in its 30th year, is still run by our Council. In 1997, PGRT-SC also launched a successful “Leave a Legacy” program based on the NCPG model and provided leadership to a five county campaign in Southern California. Variations of Leave a Legacy exist to this day.

As for the name changes, back in 2006, NCPG decided to change its name to the “Partnership for Philanthropic Planning” (PPP). To keep in step as a member council of PPP, our Council officially changed its name to PPP-LA. Around 2016, the National PPP went through another name change to what it is today—the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners. Our Council Board then decided to rebrand our name to the “Los Angeles Council of Charitable Gift Planners” and LACGP was born. LACPG continues to thrive, with an engaged Board, quality programming, abundant resources, a highly-regarded conference, and a diverse membership.

As you can see, we are all part of a distinguished history. Whether you’ve been a member from the early days or a newcomer, there is always something new to learn in planned giving and great people to connect with in our membership. Although our interactions have been virtual this past year, the resources and learning have been plentiful, thanks to an active volunteer Board, our administrative team and all of you. We are genuinely looking forward to making more history, including gathering at a new venue soon. In the meantime, there are webinars planned for the summer (perhaps planned giving trivia?) and more to come in the fall. LACPG is always evolving and is here to support you as you travel the winding road of gift planning!

An Interview with Raymond Rotolo

LACGP recently had the privilege of interviewing veteran gift planner, Raymond Rotolo, Senior Director of Planned Giving from Claremont McKenna College (CMC). CMC’s gift planning office is well known for its gift annuity program, so interviewing Raymond seemed to be a logical choice to discover more about CMC’s approach.

The Claremont Colleges were pioneers in Charitable Gift Annuities. Tell us a little bit of the history.

Claremont McKenna College (CMC) was founded in 1946 and was the third institution in the Claremont Colleges. The concept of the Claremont Colleges was put forth by Pomona College President James Blaisdell around 1920 with the idea of creating an Oxford/Cambridge-type cluster of Colleges. Scripps Women’s College was founded in 1926, and CMC was slated to start in 1930. Unfortunately, October of 1929 occurred and then WWII. The establishment of the G.I. Bill following WWII, was a deciding factor in choosing to move forward with founding CMC. 

The Pomona College planned giving program was not allowed to solicit gift annuities from alumni for fear of undermining their annual fund program. As a result, they chose to market their gift annuity program to outside constituents. CMC, being new in 1946, did not have any alumni to solicit. I have been told that the first annuity was funded in 1949 as part of the initial fundraising for the College. I am not certain of when the PG program officially started, however, recorded gift totals for Life Income Gifts start in 1962. Because of a lack of alumni to market to, CMC adopted the Pomona approach of marketing to outside constituents.

How long have you been at Claremont McKenna?

My first day at CMC was just over 26-years ago on March 1, 1995. I started as the Assist. Dir. of Planned Giving, and became the director of the program in November of 2008. I am also a 1976 graduate of CMC.

How have things changed with CGAs during your time there?

The biggest change with gift annuities is how much they have gained in familiarity and acceptance as a wise income-generating alternative. When I first started, my boss at the time Joe Schreiber, said that it usually took 2 years for a new prospect to make a decision to fund a gift annuity. Now, it is not uncommon for a new prospect to make a decision in a couple of months, or weeks and, in some cases, during the first phone call.

Another significant change is that I close the great majority of a gift annuities over the phone or the internet. I have been amazed at the number and size of gift annuities that I have funded with prospects before ever meeting them and, in some cases, never meeting them.

What’s the same?

I guess that I would say that much is the same. You still have to be in touch with people and market the program, even if you are using different avenues to do so. People still like the simplicity and security they offer and, despite the run up in the stock market, more of our CGAs are funded with cash than stock.

Tell us about offering rates higher than the American Council on Gift Annuities recommends. What are the advantages and disadvantages?

The obvious advantage of offering rates higher than ACGA rates is to make your program attractive to non-alumni and to those seeking to get better rates than are available in the marketplace, such as CDs and other interest bearing options. Since we have so few alumni, for CMC to have an active program, we need to be interesting to non-alumni.

Offering higher rates does expose the College to a greater risk of a CGA running dry. However, we set our rates with a goal of a release value equal to 40% of the gift amount in present value terms. We also have the benefit of having received an exemption from the state of California allowing CMC to invest its gift annuity pool in its endowment rather than follow the state guidelines.

A common thing I hear is that with higher rates we are “leaving money on the table.” Our position is that without the higher rates we would probably have almost no gift annuities funded and, therefore, every dollar we do receive is a dollar that we wouldn’t otherwise raise.

Do you advertise CGAs to the general community?

Since the average donor age for a gift annuity is 78-79, and CMC has less than 1,000 alumni over the age of 70, we have marketed our gift annuity program to the general community since at least 1982-83, though it may have begun earlier. Our primary marketing effort has been through the Wall Street Journal, though initially there were ads in Sunset Magazine and maybe some early ads in the AAA magazine. Beginning around 2009, we also began sponsoring internet search ads for gift annuities and charitable unitrusts.

We have also participated as a vendor and speaker at the Money Show in Las Vegas. For lack of a better description, The Money Show is an investment tradeshow that happens several times a year in various locations around the country. 

Anything you would like to add?

Contrary to what most might think, prospects who contact the College are not simply making a business decision. We have always defined our market as those who are charitably-minded, not (in most cases) committed to a specific charity and are looking for a better rate than they can get in the marketplace. We make great efforts to “make them part of the CMC family.” And in fact, we often receive significant bequests from those who joined the family through our gift annuity or trust program.