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It is my hope that your summer has been enjoyable. If you have been out of the office - perhaps on vacation, and you’ve had time to relax, that is wonderful. The Chesapeake Planned Giving Council (CPGC) appreciates the importance of taking a break and recharging. With that in mind, I intend to keep this message short and to the point, so you can get back to enjoying the remainder of your summer. As we get back into our schedules at work and at school, let’s keep these three events on the radar:
Our Fall program will be virtual – on September 15th, 2021. The program will be educational and provide information relevant to the planned giving community (and allied professionals whose work involves addressing the needs of clients and donors). Please visit our website for details which will be posted soon - https://www.chesapeakeplannedgiving.org/events
CGP is excited to introduce a new, flexible approach to CGP Conference, featuring unique in-person and virtual experiences. This year you can choose the experience that works best for you:
Oct. 4-6, Rosen Centre Hotel
We’re getting back to the event you know and love. Educational sessions, networking, speakers and exhibitors all in-person in Orlando. Plus, registering for our in-person experience grants you access to the virtual offerings.
Sept. 20-24, wherever you are
If you can’t get away from the office but still want to experience CGP Conference, then the virtual experience is perfect for you. Watch educational sessions and connect with peers from the comfort of your computer.
Don’t miss out on this year’s fantastic lineup of speakers, breakout sessions and specialized education tracks. No matter how you choose to join us, the educational programming will provide you with strategies, insights and tools you need to do your job better. Register Now at www.CharitableGiftPlanners.org/conference
For more information, check out the article that I co-authored last year with my World Vision US colleagues, Renee Brida and Michael Smith. The article is posted on the CGP Blog and is entitled National Estate Planning Awareness Week: 3 Reasons to Celebrate.
Before I wrap up this message, I must give a huge thank you to Association Matters, Inc., and the CPGC Board - whose members work tirelessly to keep things moving forward. We thank you - our friends, supporters, partners, and sponsors for your commitment to CPGC. Enjoy the summer and we look forward to you joining us for our upcoming events.
All the best,
The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners [NACGP] manages the membership process for new and existing members. Please click here to join or renew your membership with CPGC, NACGP or both associations.
THE VALUE OF MEMBERSHIP
By: Elsa W. Smith, Esq., Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC
I. IntroductionAccording to a 2021 Wills and Estate Planning Study by Caring.com, a non-profit for caregivers, only about a third of Black Americans have a will. However, that percentage has increased from 25.9% in 2020 to 27.5% in 2021. Compare this to White Americans which are approximately 35%. Troubling is the asymmetry of the educational, professional and financial progress we have made as people of color and the lack of estate planning in place to protect those gains. Before we can attempt to prescribe a solution to the problem, however, we must understand the underlying causes.
II. Barriers to Estate PlanningTwo of the greatest barriers to estate planning among families of color is a lack of estates and trusts attorneys of color and of those actively seeking out clients of color.
Lack of Attorneys of Color in the LawAccording to the American Bar Association’s 2020 Profile of the Legal Profession, five percent (5%) of attorneys are Black. What is even more tragic is that the percentage has not increased over the last ten years. A report published in 2010 warned us of the effect a lack of diversity in the profession has in a macro sense: “[T]he profession has historically provided access to income and wealth commensurate with the ‘American Dream.’ Historically, racial and ethnic groups, women and other marginalized groups have recognized that a law degree accelerates their social and economic mobility. If any part of our profession – especially the vast and powerful fields of private practice – fails to be diverse and inclusive, we are sending meaningful symbolic messages to members of underrepresented groups, especially those of lower socioeconomic status.”
A lack of Black attorneys in the estates and trusts arena conveys an implicit message to people of color that estate planning is not for them. ACTEC Fellow Sarah Moore Johnson observed, “[t]he simple Act of preparing a will for a family of color or encouraging investment and life insurance can create tangible economic gains that will help close the wealth gap. The more Black and Brown estate planning attorneys we have, the more likely our families of color are to seek legal representation and create a plan for intergenerational wealth transfer.”
III. How Estate and Financial Professionals Can Help Change the Narrative
“Diversify your Life”Author and journalist Rochelle Riley said it best during her appearance on ACTEC’s video series addressing economic inequality in America: “Diversity your life...if you are an attorney and all of your clients are white, or maybe one client is Black and everybody else is white, and you want to change that, then there are ways to reach out that aren't even that hard. Go and visit a Black church. Go to a Black-owned restaurant. Talk to people that you know who are people of color and say- you know what, I'd like to reach out more.”
Challenge Unconscious BiasesUnconscious biases are limitations on your ability to serve a more diverse audience. I recall a conversation I had with a well-meaning estate planning colleague who happens to be Caucasian. When we spoke about the need to serve a more diverse segment of the population, he assumed I was speaking of low-income residents. I acknowledge that there is a great need for estate planning among low-income residents. By volunteering with the Maryland Pro Bono Resource Center’s estate planning clinics, I have seen first-hand the benefit of helping the economically disadvantaged create a plan for their legacy. However, in the conversation referenced earlier, I referred to the underserved, and in some cases ignored, segments of Maryland’s Black community that range from middle-income to high-net worth residents.
My point in sharing that story is that people should examine their unconscious biases as they relate to Blacks or people of color and estate planning. When we assume that families of color have little or no assets requiring protection, we slam the door shut on an opportunity to expand the market for estate planning and financial services. Be intentional about presenting charitable giving options during meetings with clients of color. In firms with a diversity deficit, actively recruit, retain and promote minority professionals to connect with prospective clients of color. Estate planning and financial professionals with no families of color in their client portfolios are potentially missing out on millions in assets that require protection. Changing the generational narrative will require us to be proactive and intentional.
About the Author
Elsa W. Smith, Esq.
Elsa W. Smith is the founder and owner of the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC - a boutique estate planning firm with a mission to empower women through estate planning. With more than 20 years of experience as a lawyer, Elsa strives to use her platform to be an agent for positive change.
Thank You to Our Sponsors For Your Continued Support
By: Julie Morris, Career and Life Coach
If you’re thinking about starting a nonprofit organization of your own, there are several things you should know about the process. To help you get started, check out these resources from the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council.
Explore the Different Types of NonprofitsThere are many different types of nonprofit organizations in the U.S. Before starting an organization of your own, you’ll need to choose the right type of nonprofit for your cause.
Launch Your Organization in a Few Steps
Once you’re ready to launch your nonprofit organization, you’ll need to assemble your Board of Directors, choose a business structure, apply for tax-exempt status, and compare your financing options.
Run a Successful Nonprofit OrganizationForming a nonprofit is just the start. These tips and resources will help you to raise money for your organization, stay on top of your finances, and run a successful nonprofit.
Nonprofit work can be highly rewarding, but there are many challenges you’ll face along the way — especially when it comes to fundraising and marketing. Before launching your organization, make sure you’re prepared for these obstacles and do plenty of research so you know exactly what you’re getting into. Running a nonprofit isn’t easy, but the advantages of nonprofit work make it all worthwhile.
About the Author
Julie Morris is a
life and career coach. She thrives on helping others live their best
lives. It’s easy for her to relate to clients who feel run over by life
because she’s been there. After years in a successful (but unfulfilling)
career in finance, Julie busted out of the corner office that had
become her prison.
Contributed by Chip Giese, Planned Giving Client Relationship Manager, PNC Bank
1. CGAs remain attractive to donors
The maximum recommended payout rate to annuitants is still around 4% or higher for single-life contracts for annuitants age 61 or older, and rises to above 7% for annuitants in their 80s.
2. Finding the right approach with donors
One approach is to focus on the charitable giving aspect of the CGA contract; for donors, it is essential to hear about the importance of what their gift will help accomplish at the charity.
About the Author
Chip is a Planned Giving client relationship manager in PNC Institutional Asset Management® . He serves local, regional and national Planned Giving clients for PNC. His responsibilities include serving as a key point of contact for client service needs and coordinating the Planned Giving team that provides investment management, various administration services and education to nonprofits across the country.
Contributed by Associations Now
Professionalism isn’t just about choice of attire—it encompasses diversity and personal discussions too. As people return to the office, the topic promises to get complicated. Here are some tips on how to navigate.
After a year and a half of people regularly wearing dress shirts with sweatpants, you weren’t expecting everything to go back to the way it was in the office before the pandemic, were you?
The pandemic and other major events over the past year shifted expectations for what professionalism means. As offices reopen—and as some workers stay remote—this multidimensional issue gives leaders a lot to think about. Here are some considerations for organizations trying to discover what “professional” means to them now:
See professionalism through the lens of DEI. Being professional in a work environment might be seen as a basic requirement, but the guidelines of what exactly constitutes professionalism have traditionally forced people to behave in a way that caters to the dominant culture. In recent years, however, some cultural observers, such as Stanford Social Innovation Review contributor Aysa Gray, have questioned professionalism as forcing a culture that “explicitly and implicitly privileges whiteness and discriminates against non-Western and non-white professionalism.” With that in mind, now might be a good time to consider whether professional standards are serving all of your workforce.
Make room for discussions of family and personal challenges. Millions of people contracted COVID-19, and there’s a good chance that the virus directly affected some in your office. But even if they remained physically healthy, your employees may have suffered in other ways—mental health and substance abuse issues were heightened during this period, and those concerns don’t necessarily vanish with a vaccine. Traditionally, “professionalism” has discouraged these discussions, based on a theory called Protestant Relational Ideology, which sets aside personal concerns to focus on the work at hand. But after a tough year where many families had to manage Zoom calls around children stuck at home, there may need to be more room for personal discussions when they emerge in the workplace.
Accept that difficult discussions might happen. Perhaps it was inevitable that a company like Basecamp would run into a conflict over political discourse in the workplace (ironically, this unfolded on the platform the company developed to boost productivity). But the conflict resulted in something that was not inevitable: mass resignations. Perhaps the key for associations hoping to avoid this is to build a culture that can handle those discussions in meaningful ways—and to avoid banning political discussions.
Let your employees get a little more casual. Businesswear often took a back seat over Zoom (sweatpants and button-down combos aside). As people head back to the office, they may buck against a return to business attire. This might be even more of an issue for offices operating in a hybrid model: With recent studies finding that most people working remotely don’t adhere to a dress code, enforcing a strict dress code for in-office workers sets an inconsistent standard. (Luckily, clothing makers are adapting, according to The Wall Street Journal [subscription], with some retailers offering “hybrid dressing” that combines professional with casual.)
Embrace a diversity of emotions. Diversity isn’t limited to demographics. It can also be about how employees feel and react to things, and that not everyone sees eye to eye on everything. As Associations Now blogger Mark Athitakis wrote in January, the pandemic offered us a reset on emotional diversity, allowing leaders to shift away from attempting to emotionally align teams. “Perhaps a better place to start is to double-check that you know where your people are emotionally in the first place,” he wrote. “And if there’s a silver lining in 2020 when it comes to management, we’re doing a better job at prioritizing that.”