January - march 2022

Letter from the President

Great Strides in 2022

As 2022 rolls into gear, I am reminded of the opportunities and possibilities that the Chesapeake Planned Giving Council (CPGC) has in front of it. Thanks to the members, supporters, sponsors and friends of CPGC, we are positioned to make great strides this year. Of course, with the assistance of our all-volunteer board who works tirelessly to keep the wheels moving for CPGC. Thank you – I am grateful for your time and energy:

Leslie Goldsborough, Vice President

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

John A. Gilpin, Secretary
Baltimore Community Foundation
Stephanie Brizee, Treasurer
Loyola University

Suzanne Ferrero, Director
Johns Hopkins University

Rock Schuler, Director
Holy Trinity Catholic Church and School

Jane Moore, Director
Family Heritage Trust

Steven Wantz, Director
Carroll Community College

Now that I am in my second year of my presidency, I have more on my To-Do list than ever before. I look forward to working through the items on the list – one by one. The list includes many of the mission focused items that the original incorporators put into place for CPGC in 1990: To serve the needs of donors, and the institutions they support by encouraging the education and the training of the planned giving community and allied professionals…

Continue the Work

A two year term as president - seemed like a lot of time when I took over the reins from my predecessor, Richard Letocha in 2021. His steady guidance and leadership set me up for a good tenure – and I am working hard to continue the work for those to follow in this path in the future.

Though, I certainly will be the first to admit that 2021, was a challenging time for many of us. The organizations that you work for, businesses that you operate, and clients and donors that you assist - have all been navigating virtual meetings, remote work, and other professional and personal matters. I applaud you for keeping things going in the midst of daily changes and uncertainty. That is a lot to juggle, and we here at CPGC are no different - which makes us more committed than ever to provide you with informative and helpful educational programing.

February marks the time that many nonprofit organizations ramp up marketing efforts and finalize plans for spring events. What is your organization doing this month? There is a lot to get excited about and rally around as we continue into 2022 with new possibilities ahead. Here is an excerpt from my President’s letter (February 2021) - that I want to share with you: “I celebrate that - since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month. May the many stories, contributions, and accomplishments continue to provide inspiration and encouragement to us all.”

What’s Next

CPGC has top-notch educational programs lined up for 2022 – with the next event in March.  In May, our event is slated to be in-person – full of networking opportunities and educational content for gift planners and allied professionals. Visit CPGC’s website for information on events. Let’s keep focused on the bright side of 2022 and what’s to come. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming event soon.


Aquanetta Betts
CPGC, President
LinkedIn @AquanettaBetts

The ABCs of DEI in Planned Giving
By: Jade Bristol, J.D. & Alesha Brereton, Ph.D.

Non-profit development staff—including planned giving teams—have increasingly been tasked with promoting their organizations' Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) work. However, the intersection between planned giving and DEI work is not always apparent or easy. The simplest, most obvious change that many planned giving departments have implemented is to update the images used in their marketing materials to represent a broader, more inclusive cross-section of people. While increasing representation in the photos used in marketing materials is essential, it is not enough.

The question we must ask ourselves is: How can planned giving professionals move beyond simply diversifying the images used in planned giving marketing and develop a deeper understanding of how our sector should think about making the world of planned giving more inclusive for communities of color?

Looking deeply and honestly at the roots of why there are comparatively fewer people of color leaving planned gifts to non-profit institutions will not always be comfortable, nor is it intended to provide simple turn-key solutions to a multifaceted problem. Here is what we know:

  1. People of color are not less charitably inclined than their white counterparts.
  2. To leave a planned gift, such as a bequest, a person must have a will.
  3. People of color complete their estate plans at significantly lower rates than white people.

To illuminate the last point above, let's look at some statistics on rates of estate planning in different racial and ethnic communities. Data on estate planning show that 28% of adults who identify as people of color have an active will, while 51% of white Americans have one. White Americans are almost three times more likely to have completed estate planning than Black or Hispanic/Latinx Americans. Lower rates of estate planning among communities of color have also been observed in the non-profit sector, where Black Americans typically leave fewer charitable bequest gifts than their white counterparts. While Black Americans have been found to be significantly less likely than white Americans to have a will or trust with a charitable component, this seems to be primarily correlated with lower rates of estate planning itself and not with lower rates of charitable intent.

The planned giving sector in the U.S. must learn from history and develop better, more inclusive practices to help overcome the barriers faced by people of color in creating estate plans that protect their families, express their values, and build the intergenerational wealth from which white Americans have benefited. Only by increasing the rate of estate planning in communities of color can we ever hope to create more inclusive and diverse planned giving programs that will grow the stream of future revenue for non-profit organizations.

While the legal system can and should bear much of the burden for creating the systemic changes necessary to expand the reach of estate planning, planned giving professionals can also make an impact by:

  1. Building cultural competencies that will enable you to interact more knowledgeably and authentically with donors whose cultural backgrounds are different from your own;
  2. Learning the history of how the law of trusts and estates has impacted communities of color, particularly through involuntary land loss resulting from the laws of intestate succession;
  3. Widening your network to include attorneys and other professional advisors who work with different racial and ethnic communities; and
  4. Embracing technological solutions to estate planning (such as online tools) that may be a better fit for donors who are not comfortable going to an estate planning attorney.

This worthwhile work will help our sector expand inclusivity in estate planning and will, ultimately, lead to more planned gifts from a wider audience.

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About the Authors


After graduating from Georgetown University Law Center, Jade began her career as a Trusts & Estates attorney. She then spent over a decade leading successful planned giving programs for two major national non-profits before joining Giving Docs as Chief Development Officer. 


Alesha holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Texas A&M University and for over thirteen years has worked in the nonprofit field of gender-based violence. She is currently a 3L at Boston University School of Law and will be working as a corporate lawyer upon graduation.

Does Your Fundraising Include These Two Powerful Words?
By: Nathan Stelter

The words are, of course, “thank you.”

They are early words we teach our kids, repeat at the drive-thru and casually drop while checking out at the grocery store…yet do we say them to our donors?

Yes, I get it; there are meaningful barriers to adding a stewardship strategy to your marketing plan. I often hear:

  • I don’t have time.
  • I don’t have budget.
  • There’s no way to measure ROI.

Those barriers are real, although I argue that the benefits of thanking your donors outweigh them. Let’s look at a few key wins of saying thanks.

4 Benefits of Thanking Donor

1. It serves as a gift acknowledgment.

Have you ever given a gift at a wedding and not received a thank you? It makes you second-guess where you placed the gift on the table and how well you secured the card. It doesn’t feel good.

Thanking a donor for an immediate gift—a stock transfer, for example—is a simple confirmation step. They may also need this acknowledgment to share with their financial or legal advisers.

Bonus: Your gift acknowledgment can boost retention. It’s increasingly harder to retain donors and we all know that it costs more to acquire a new donor than to keep a current one. Ensure that you start the relationship with this positive experience.

2. It may increase future giving.
Dr. Russell James had good news for us in 2020. He published a study that found that legacy gifts boost annual gifts. Donors planning a future gift provided greater financial support over in both qualitative (giving more) and quantitative (giving more often) measures. (This blog provides a chart and further explanation.)

In a similar vein, a 2018 study by Giving USA found that legacy donors want ongoing, personalized stewardship to help them stay connected to the impact of their gift. Provided they had been properly thanked, most legacy donors also reported being open to annual solicitations as a way to “feel useful” and provide immediate support.

3. It allows you to personalize future communications.

What a great chance to deepen the relationship. Use your thank you to clarify how and how often the donor likes to be communicated with. Via email? In-person visits? Snail mail? When you have special events? Frequently? Never again? (A “thanks, but no thanks” is a possible response that you need to honor, too.)

When you personalize future touchpoints by the donor’s interests through their preferred channel and on their timeline, you’ve hit the trifecta of marketing: Right person, right time, right place.

4. It creates a positive association with giving.

It’s simple psychology: In being thanked, the donor correlates giving to reward. And the more memorable and worthwhile your communication, the stronger the association.

There’s an interesting additional feel-good bonus for your organization: Your fundraisers get to connect to the mission. They get to bond with legacy givers who also love your organization’s work. They get to share initiatives that are making a real difference. They get to celebrate their success in motivating others. Through thank yous, fundraisers get to live out their professional goals.

The Payoff

Committing to a stewardship program can be the most important upgrade in your marketing. When your program shifts from just donor acquisition to include donor retention, there are meaningful financial and emotional payoffs.

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About the Author

Nathan Stelter

Nathan Stelter is the president of The Stelter Company, a leading source for gift planning marketing solutions for the nonprofit community. Nathan’s enjoyed a 20-year career in planned giving and is a past board member of the NCGPC (Washington, DC), current member of the Mid-Iowa Planned Giving Council, chair-elect for the board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners as well as co-chair of the National Standards for Gift Planning Success (NSGPS) task force.

About the Author

Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson is the Production Operations Manager at The Stelter Company,a leading source for gift planning marketing solutions for the nonprofit community. He manages the print production and project scoping for more than 1,000 nonprofits, delivering more than a million print pieces to donors and prospects each year.

Why is There a Paper Shortage and What Can I Do About it?
By: Tyler Johnson

Direct mail fundraisers know that paper price is a major component of the total price of their marketing. Have you been hit with sticker shot lately?

Consider this: Paper prices have gone up a little more than 25% since January 2021.

There are many factors in play:

  1. Paper mills reduced their workforce during the turmoil of 2020.
  2. Many mills transitioned into making boxes (for example, for Amazon) versus making paper for direct mail pieces.
  3. Paper types and paper grades were discontinued.
  4. Transportation took a hit in 2020: Airlines encouraged their pilots to take early retirement and the trucking industry tightened their workforce and schedules.

According to Erik Norman, the SVP Sales and Marketing for Bolger Printing, a digital print, wide-format printing, technology, and marketing service provider, we’re in a unique space. “This dire global paper shortage coming off the pandemic effect is unique and unequaled,” Erik says. “People who’ve been purchasing paper for 30+ years haven’t seen it before.”

So, if we’re still in unprecedented times, what can we do about it?

To Start, When Will It End?

“That’s the 64-million-dollar question,” says Erik. “The general consensus is probably into quarter three of next year. This is not a short-term issue.”

The following tips help you take control, today.

Tip #1: Start discussions early. Really early.

When you bring your design, data and production partners to the table early, you have options. You can lean on partnerships (see Tip #2) and connections. By pulling one lever—maybe timing, materials or quantities—you can stay on track with your most important goals. 

Tip #2: Be flexible about paper grade/paper type. (Or timing.)

Your printer partners are likely working through a lot of alternatives: Be willing to consider them when bottlenecks appear. More common paper sheets are more likely to be stocked, plus they are successful for other customers—could they work for you? It doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or performance, it may just mean a different brand or size.

Here’s why this is happening: Your printing resources are likely buying paper in bulk and in many cases, they are getting their supply based on historic orders. If you have a new need, it’s more difficult to fulfill. You may still be able to get the sheets you want if you can shift when you need them. For example, Erik says that materials that used to take a couple of weeks to stock could now take 10-14 weeks.

Tip #3: Lean into multichannel.  

The best-performing fundraising efforts meet donors where they are—whether through social media, email, Google searches, billboards or even text messages. Marketing is getting the right message to the right people at the right time. Ensure that digital marketing is part of your mix, especially if you have to delay your direct mail timing.

There are deliverability challenges in every channel, but a well-rounded approach helps defend against pricing, regulations and algorithms. A diverse portfolio is the best portfolio.

Keep Cost in Check

Remember that stat about paper pricing increasing 25% last year? Print technology providers like Bolger are looking to drive efficiencies to control costs. Tradeoffs are part of that—again, material being a key one, but you could also flex how many print checks you get during the quality control process—and so is planning. Elongated lead times will be the norm for 2022.

Here’s the key takeaway to meet your printing goals and timelines: Don’t wait. 

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