Facebook users know that you can take a BuzzFeed quiz to help you find your avatar in pop culture, world history, or interstellar space. Are you an elf, or a hobbit? ZZ Top, or Foreigner? Kermit or Ernie? Mars or Pluto? Naturally, when I read Kathryn Miree’s Planned Giving Today article, “The Six Faces of Gift Planning Officers,” I thought, “there should be a quiz!” Kathryn says, “There are at least six distinct job models, each of which requires different skills, experience, and expertise. Some are heavily donor oriented, while others have little direct contact….The key to a successful match of staff and skills is found by understanding what the job entails and the strengths the job candidate brings to the table.” When the fit isn’t good, gift planners can feel frustrated, unappreciated and confused about the expectations for their position.
Unfortunately, my Six Faces quiz was just too hard to score. There are many crossovers among the aptitudes and skill sets. The Portfolio Manager and the Legal Think Tank both work independently, but in very different ways. The “I Do It All” fundraiser and the Major/Planned Gifts Officer need to know about much more than planned gifts, but at different levels. Finding the right fit isn’t a trivial matter, like learning whether your House is Stark or Targaryeon. But I’m guessing that most people don’t really need a standardized test to figure out which kind of gift planner they are or want to be. Here’s a quick taste of Kathryn’s categories. And to prove that PPP doesn’t play favorites, I’ve included a resource from the archives for each category.
The Calling Machine
Do you spend two-thirds of your time on the road, talking to prospects? Do you have a solid knowledge of planned gifts that allows you to develop, cultivate and close gifts on your own?
Forever Change the Way You Plan Trips: Mapping Donor Data (Katherine McKay), National Conference on Philanthropic Planning 2012
The Portfolio Manager
Do you have an assigned pool of donors and planned gift prospects? Do you like working independently to cultivate and steward "your" donors?
Changing "No" to "Yes": Overcoming Common Obstacles to Planned Giving (Laura Hansen Dean, Pamela Jones Davidson), The Journal of Gift Planning, Vol. 14, No. 2 (2010)
Are you the advisor to a large and/or decentralized team of fundraisers, helping them to surface planned gift prospects and close gifts? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge of planned gifts with colleagues as well as donors?
SIGNALS -- A Deliberate Approach to Discovery and Assessment of a New Prospect (Dan Shephard), National Conference on Philanthropic Planning 2013
The Legal Think Tank
Are you the go-to person in your organization for technical advice and illustrations? Are you an authority on the rules and regs who prefers to let others do the asking?
The CRT Stock Redemption Strategy for Philanthropic and Business Succession Planning (Jonathan Ackerman), The Journal of Gift Planning, Vol. 13, No. 3 (2009)
The “I Do it All Gift Planner”
Do you work for a smaller organization where you're in charge of all types of fundraising? For planned gifts, do you focus mostly on "entry level" techniques, like bequests and beneficiary designations?
The "Plan" in Planned Giving...a Long and Short Three-Year Action Plan (Pamela Davidson), National Conference on Philanthropic Planning 2012
The Major/Planned Gift Officer
Do you enjoy being part of a team that often includes the donor's advisors? Are you comfortable asking for help when your own planned gift expertise runs out?
Blended Gifts, Eh? Making the Most of This Emerging Workhorse for Major & Planned Gift Officers (Ashley Buderus, Gordon Smith), National Conference on Philanthropic Planning 2013
You can read Kathryn’s full article through the end of March, courtesy of Planned Giving Today, by clicking here.
Which face of gift planning is yours? Is there another that would be a better fit for you? Would you like to suggest a seventh face? Share your thoughts in the comments.