Collaboration--Interprofessionality: Roles and Responsibilities

Posted by National Association of Charitable Gift Planners on Apr 1, 2015 4:06:38 PM

In a series of posts, we’re considering “Core Competencies for Collaborative Interprofessional Practice” for philanthropic planning. The interprofessional competencies we suggest originated in the healthcare field, as an attempt to transform education and prepare students in all the healthcare specialties for “deliberatively working together with the common goal of building a safer and better patient-centered and community/population oriented U.S. health care system.”


As noted in the first post of this series, a paradigm shift Business Teamworktoward interprofessionality also sounds like a good move for philanthropic planning. The second of four core competencies for interprofessional practice deals with roles and responsibilities.

In the business of planning, as in the healthcare field, intersecting professions experience the resource and problem of “variety diversity,” or categorical differences among team members. Diversity of expertise is essential to effective teams. Diversity of background or cultural characteristics also adds to teamwork resources. But stereotyping, both positive and negative, related to professional roles can erode mutual respect.  Are financial and estate advisors really concerned just with preserving wealth (and maybe managing as much of it as possible), while fundraisers only want to give it away?

PPP’s Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner require planners to clearly explain who they represent and how they are compensated. They must also clearly explain—to one another, as well as the donor/client—what they do.  What is the fundraiser’s role when the planning vehicle of choice is a commercially managed donor advised fund? What is the financial planner’s role when a fundraiser suggests that retirement assets be directed to charity? Who watches out for the charitable bequest when the TOD/POD titles enter the estate plan?

A planner involved in interprofessional advising (as most are), needs to use the knowledge of his own role and those of other professions to appropriately assess and address needs and options of donors and clients. Specific competencies related to professional roles and responsibilities include:

  • Communicate one’s own roles and responsibilities clearly to donors/clients, their families and other professionals.
  • Recognize one’s limitations in skills, knowledge, and abilities.
  • Engage diverse professionals who complement one’s own professional expertise, as well as associated resources, to develop strategies to respond to specific goals and needs.
  • Explain the roles and responsibilities of other advisors and how the team works together.
  • Use the full scope of knowledge, skills, and abilities of available professionals and support staff to provide advice that is accurate, timely, efficient, and effective.
  • Communicate with team members to clarify each member’s responsibility in executing components of a plan.
  • Forge interdependent relationships with other professions to improve service and advance
  • Engage in continuous professional and interprofessional development to enhance team performance.
  • Use unique and complementary abilities of all members of the team to create the most meaningful plan for the donor, family and charity.

In future posts, we’ll look at competencies related to Interprofessional Communication and Teamwork.

Here are a few resources to help you build your own IQ (Interprofessional Quotient):

Show Them the Money: Understanding and Working with Professional Advisors,” Lani Starkey (from the proceedings of the 2007 National Conference on Planned Giving)

“Effective Collaboration: The True Frontier of Estate Planning,” Todd Fithian (NAEPC Journal of Tax & Estate Planning, First Quarter5 2015)

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Topics: philanthropy, donors, fundraising, General, Leadership, Teamwork