NCPG President's Corner
The Journal of Gift Planning®, Vol. 6, No. 2, 2nd Quarter 2002

BY JONATHAN D. ACKERMAN

We have all been caught in a "fog" at some point in time. In a way, the next steps in NCPG's evolution have been delayed due to fog. Prior to the adoption of individual memberships, a significant number of services were provided by NCPG directly to individuals who were members of local councils, but were not directly members of NCPG.

As the fog lifts, clarity ensues. Since local council representatives at the 2001 Assembly of Delegates adopted individual membership beginning this year, the NCPG Board and staff have enjoyed a clearer vision of the character of our membership base, as well as (and maybe more importantly) a clearer measure of direct accountability to both our individual and council members.

Based on the board's decision to increase dues last year, NCPG is also experiencing a fiscal rejuvenation. The renewal rate for membership in 2001, even after the dues increase, significantly exceeded the board's conservative budget projections. In 2002, NCPG is engaged in its first direct individual membership drive. To date, you are standing behind your commitment to gift planning and joining as individual members at an impressive rate, recognizing NCPG's extreme value, even during an economically challenging time for all sectors of our community.

A high renewal rate among existing members and an increase in overall memberships will diversify NCPG's revenue sources and dramatically affect the ability of the board, committees and staff to continue to expand services to members and to the gift planning community at large. Another benefit to increasing our individual member base is the broadening of our community's commitment to the highest ethical standards, as each individual member must adopt NCPG's Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner.

Beyond these important organizational changes, NCPG continues to help increase the quality and quantity of charitable planned gifts by providing outstanding educational opportunities; 2002 will be no exception. On April 20-21, 2002, NCPG will conduct the Masters Forum 2, which is open to gift planners with more than 10 years of experience and will offer the highest level of discussion and instruction in a small, facilitated group setting. On October 2-5, 2002 in Nashville, the 15th National Conference on Planned Giving will provide the "grandest" educational and networking opportunity available to gift planners all year. In addition, the number of virtual seminars has been expanded to four. These seminars consist of highly regarded presentations in a multi-media format and are brought right to your office via your computer.

NCPG continues its undying efforts to forge relationships with key individuals in Congress, the administration and the IRS. NCPG representatives educate and enlighten these representatives regarding technical, ethical and practical charitable gift planning issues, and even have assisted in the development of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor Act, the Armies of Compassion Initiative and the Charity Aid Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act of 2002. Tanya Howe Johnson, NCPG Executive Director, was recently invited to attend a White House event and met personally with President Bush regarding legislative initiatives affecting charitable gift planning.

NCPG is also making a significant investment this year into the LEAVE A LEGACY™ (LAL) program. LAL Committee Chair Kathryn Miree is working with staff and an independent consultant to create a strategic plan. The timetable calls for presentation of the plan at the LAL Workshop on July 12-13, 2002 in Indianapolis, just preceding NCPG's Assembly of Delegates meeting July 13-14. In addition, NCPG's Valuation of Planned Gifts Taskforce is hard at work finalizing a valuation standard for all charitable planned gifts and expects to have a final product next year. If you desire more information about any of these exciting activities, or the myriad other activities, please visit NCPG's website, www.ncpg.org.

Clearer measures of direct accountability to both individual and council members, as well as an expansion of services, will result in a more educated and ethical gift planning community, capable of producing more and better gifts. One thing is clear: NCPG cannot afford to stand still. However, NCPG is moving in a direction that cannot be measured by a compass. With the fog cleared, NCPG is ready to take off skyward with you, the council members and individual members, fueling that course.

Jonathan Ackerman, 2002 President of NCPG (now known as Partnership for Philanthropic Planning), represents donors and tax-exempt organizations on a national basis. His advice is often sought by charities in their creation and operation, especially with respect to contributions and other funding opportunities, as well as by families (and their advisors) who desire to integrate philanthropy into their estate plans.