Fall 2020
Issue 11 | Vol.4

The Source is published quarterly by the Minnesota Gift Planning Association

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Message from the Chair

By: Dana Holt
Chair, Minnesota Planned Giving Council

If you’re anything like me, 2020 has been a year of learning new skills at every turn. We’re learning new technology skills, learning to address racial injustice, learning to manage every aspect of life from home. We’re learning to balance jobs with our children’s at home learning, stay connected with loved ones while keeping socially distanced, and learning to cook all kinds of new recipes.

Here at MGPA, our volunteers have been learning too. We’re learning how to continue our service to you in a digital fashion, learning how to make our organization a more equitable and accessible place, and learning to say our new name!

We believe that these new skills will serve us well as we create new and better ways to serve you in the future. Below you can read about some of the exciting things we have in store for you.

  • Our first ever digital annual conference! This conference has been painstakingly designed with the best online conference platform available. There is still time to register!
  • The brand new standing IDEA Committee. You’ll soon receive an invitation to join this new group committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access in every aspect of what we do.
  • The innovative new Podcast created by our very own Leave a Legacy Committee.
  • The final piece of our re-branding efforts – a new website! Final tweaks are being made and it will go live very soon! The new site is beautiful, easier to navigate, and more mobile-friendly.
  • And MORE!

Thank you for your continued membership! We are here to serve you and YOU make this work possible.

All my best,
Dana Holt, Board Chair                     

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Conference Update

We may be coming together virtually this year, but the Minnesota Gift Planning Association 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 23, 2020

CE Credits Available: CFRE & CLE (up to 18.75 available)


Featured Plenaries

Dave Coffaro
Think Tomorrow, Act Today

Amy Eisenstein, ACFRE
Happiness, Habits and Nonprofit Fundraising: Strategies to Survive and Thrive️

How Social Justice Can Inform Philanthropic Strategy

Maria De La Cruz




Mary Delorié

Acooa Lee Ellis
Power in Narrative

Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP®
Top 10 legacy fundraising strategies from scientific research: National data & results from the lab

Eddie Thompson, Ed.D., FCEP
Telling Stories Moves Donors

Sarah K. Nathan, Ph.D.
The Latest Trends in Philanthropy


Engaging Breakout Sessions

This conference will once again stretch our thinking and energize our minds. Visit the conference agenda page for full details on plenary and breakout sessions.

Leave a Legacy Panel: Exploring Opportunities and Challenges in Rural Philanthropy
Lori Eich, Carl Newbanks and Karl Samp

Cracking the Code: The Secrets of a Successful Charitable Gift Annuity Program
Mariah Brook & Beth McCray

Fuel for Fundraisers : Three areas to consider to help us stay refueled, refocused, and recharged, so we can be even more effective.
Wendy Frost

You Had the Power All Along: What it Takes to Pull Back the Curtain on DAFs
Stephanie Donley, J.D.

Above Average Gifts from an Average Joe
Dena DeGroat, FIC, CLTC, MSW

Running the Bases with Legacy Society Donors
Marc Littlecott, CAP®, CGPP

Connected Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

Journey Financial Consultants - Thrivent


Virtual Platform Sponsor

Materials Sponsor

Student Scholarship Sponsor


Crescendo Interactive, Inc.
Pentera, Inc.
The Stelter Company
Thompson & Associates
TIAA Kaspick

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Support MPGC through Sponsorship!

MGPA has gone Virtual!

Minnesota Gift Planning Association (formerly 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 these opportunities here and contact us to join in these efforts. There is still time to sponsor at the Conference coming up October 28-29! We look forward to your support.

Please contact Development Committee Co-Chairs (Inez Bergquist at bergq003@umn.edu and Sheryl Morrison at sheryl.morrison@lathropgpm.com) to support the great work MGPA is doing in the philanthropic community.

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Renew Your Membership Today!

MGPA memberships run from October 1 - September 30, so if you have not already done so, please consider renewing your membership today! Click here to login and renew today!

Are you an MGPA member outside the metro area looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity with MGPA? The membership committee is hoping to add at least one outstate member to play an active role as we seek to add outstate members. The committee meets every other month over Zoom and is just starting to set goals for next year. We’d love to have you join us. If you're interested, please contact Rachel Hughes, co-chair, at rhughes@metrostate.edu or 612-386-3716.  

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Available Now: A Legacy of Generosity Podcast!

The Leave a Legacy MN committee has launched a bi-monthly podcast featuring relevant, engaging information to help you do better. The first episode is available now!  You can find it here:  https://anchor.fm/legacyofgenerosity or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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Leave a Legacy Scholarships!

The Minnesota Gift Planning Association (MGPA) Leave a Legacy Minnesota (LAL-MN) Committee is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 MGPA Virtual Conference Scholarships October 28-29, 2020.  These scholarships are being provided for professionals at small nonprofits in Greater Minnesota and the Twin Cities metro area and the recipients were selected with input from the Minnesota Initiative Foundations and AFP Minnesota.

  • AsaleSol Young  -  AFP MN IDEA Fellow
  • Ken Story -  AFP MN IDEA Fellow
  • Rose Surma  -  Oasis of Central Minnesota
  • Robert Mann  -  Wabasha-Kellogg Area Community Foundation

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Minnesota Gift Planning Association Introduces New Website

This year MGPA went through a name change and rebranding to better reflect who we are and what we do. Now, we are proud to share the launch of our new website with an updated look and easier navigation to better serve our members.  A website is a reflection of an organization and we are excited to debut this exciting resource that represents us.  The site is nearly ready to launch.  Keep checking www.mngpa.org in the next couple of weeks!

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Frankly Speaking – Guest column for The Source

By: Frank Robertson, MGPA member


An essential focus of any planned giving program is building and maintaining good relationships with donors and their professional advisors.However, without the active support and cooperation of organizational leadership and internal partners, a planned giving program can never reach its full potential. 


Non-profit presidents, CEOs and boards have well-defined priorities that include resource allocation, campaign planning, and metrics management.They are rightfully focused on the bottom line – “cash in the door” and return on investment.It is up to you to educate them about the importance of planned gifts to the organization’s fundraising goals.This will ensure the program receives the appropriate respect it deserves as well as resources in the form of staffing and budget support when annual work plans and goals are discussed.


In addition to organizational leadership, the unique nature of planned giving also requires the understanding, respect and full support of other key departments in the organization: marketing and communications, finance and accounting, gift administration, donor stewardship, prospect research, information systems, and even human resources.However, you must realize and respect that the focus and priorities of these “internal partners” is not the same as yours.Treat your organizational colleagues with the same respect and attention that you give your donors – understand and be responsive to their needs and they will be responsive to yours.


In order to gain the appreciation and support of organizational leadership and internal partners, you must have a strategy that includes both education and relationship-building as well as a personal commitment on your part. One tool is to have a polished orientation presentation explaining who you are, what you do, the importance of being donor-centered, and the vital role planned giving plays in supporting the organization’s mission. This should be presented to new leadership as well as to other key individuals and it should be tailored specifically to the audience.  For example, a new accountant needs to know the importance of making timely gift annuity payments, responding to donor inquiries on endowment management, etc.Also, providing periodic reports to leadership, which highlight new estate distributions as well as new gift commitments, will help demonstrate the value of your program.Other, less tangible actions can also be taken.For example, providing timely feedback (and thanks!) to marketing when gifts come in as the result of your newsletter, or passing along positive comments from donors to donor stewardship after recognition events.Being generous in sharing credit and recognizing colleagues in other departments at all-staff meetings is also simply the right thing to do.


As a leader of your program, whether in a one-person shop or as part of a staff, you must set the example by personally engaging in open communication with your partners, understanding their priorities, and seeking ways you can support their work plan goals as well as accomplishing your own.We are all part of the same team.The challenge is to create and maintain an organizational culture which supports your planned giving program through mutual respect, collaboration, advocacy and teamwork.The ultimate goal is that everyone understands when planned giving succeeds the organization succeeds and everyone should want to be a part of that success!

About the Author

Frank Robertson is an MGPA member and the 2018 recipient of the Clinton A. Schroeder Distinguished Service Award. He is also a mentor through MGPA’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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How to Let Donors Know New CARES Act Offers Deduction Opportunities

By: Claire Axelrod, J.D., CFRE
Fundraising Coach at Bloomerang

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act  signed on March 27, 2020 includes a number of provisions designed to rescue an economy being decimated by a pandemic the likes of which the world has seldom, if ever, seen.

With plenty of news coverage of this legislation, little light has been shined on how it takes into account the ways nonprofits will suffer – and specifically how this legislation can help. You probably know something about the
  availability of special grants or loans and benefit reimbursements , as well as how employees can take advantage of new unemployment and extended health care benefits  [Also see here .] Individual states and localities may have additional organizational assistance available as well. This is all terrifically helpful in terms of taking care of expenses.


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Welcome, New Members!

Sally Anderson - Community Thread
Tiffany Barnard - Southwest Initiative Foundation
Adel Irwin - Bethel University 
David Kaplan - Kaplan Strategic Partnerships
Mary Langfeldt - Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Tricia Morrill - Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis
Lori Quinn - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Adam Stasica - Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Alex Stern - Minnesota Zoo Foundation
Joe Sullivan - Greater Twin Cities United Way 

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The Source is looking for a few good contributors

Now, more than ever, it is important for MGPA 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 MGPA.

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 MGPA Communications Committee members:

Jennifer White | Editor | whit0559@umn.edu
Karla Healy | Chair | khealey@neighb.org
Helene Benitez | hbenitez@umn.edu
Lynn Praska | lpraska@umn.edu
Alison E. Roberts, CFRE | aroberts004@luthersem.edu 
Jennifer Scholl | jscholl@smm.org

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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 Gift Planning Association. All rights reserved.

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