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Nonprofit Times Article

Nonprofit Times Article

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Published by vikramrajan

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Published by: vikramrajan on Nov 21, 2008
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November 1, 2004
 Outsourcing Planned GivingTaps Into Expert Networks
 By Michael Patterson
When The Dayton Foundation conducted a survey of nonprofit organizations in its Greater Miami (Ohio) Valleyservice area, executives were surprised to find that the number of agencies with an endowment fund had declinedfrom nearly 60 percent during the early 1990s to 40 percent in 2001.Asked for an explanation, the agencies replied that the pressures of higher operating costs forced them to spendthe funds. This finding came as the foundation was receiving an “unbelievable number of requests” fromnonprofits to fund development directors, said Michael M. Parks, president of The Dayton Foundation.Faced with these issues, the foundation wondered how it could cost-effectively provide a service that would helpnonprofits build their endowment funds through planned and deferred giving.Thus was born the Legacy Partnership -- a program whereby the foundation provides planned giving support toagencies that ordinarily could not afford to hire their own planned giving staff member. It also serves as onemodel for how nonprofits can “outsource” planned giving programs without having to incur the cost of adding aplanned giving staff position to the payroll.With funding provided by the foundation, corporations, private foundations, the United Arts Campaign, theUnited Way, and the agencies themselves, the partnership provides each participating nonprofit with a foundationstaff member one day every other month. During the days when a foundation staff member works with an agency,they ordinarily join the executive director on three to four personal visits to prospective legacy donors, plusparticipating in a group visit, such as a luncheon.“The agency’s staff person is the one who’s really got the relationship. Our role is to support them,” Parks said.“In effect, we become an extension of their staff.” And outside of those six days, the foundation’s staff also assiststhe organizations with mailings and other activities. In addition, the foundation has two attorneys and two CPAson staff who can provide nonprofits and their donors with assistance on complex gift arrangements.The idea for providing planned giving outsourcing services was formulated by Parks, Joe Baldasare, thefoundation’s vice president of development, and Charles R. Nunn, president of Endowment Horizons, Inc.Nunn launched a pilot program in the fall of 2002 with four agencies. Since then, the partnership has grown to 49agencies. The foundation has added two full-time staff members to serve its agencies.Although it is still early in the process, Parks said the partnership to date has documented 214 new legacy giftsamong the agencies with which it works.While the staff support is important, Parks said the service’s ability to provide structure and discipline is equallyvaluable. “We all get caught up in our day-to-day operations. We understand the value of planned giving, but itoften gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. What this provides is a minimum of six days a year you’re working onplanned giving.”

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