Training Talk

by Gene Christian
Download the Planned Giving Mentor article
January 2004
Volume II, Number 1

You’ve just been hired for a development job, but this one has a new twist. You’re also responsible for planned giving!

You’ve attended a planned giving conference recently, and you’ve helped a couple of people create life-income arrangements over the years as well. However, you’re far from proficient in the more technical aspects of planned giving, and marketing planned giving is something you’ve never thought about. One-third of your performance will be measured on PG production–so the “rubber really needs to meet the road” in this area of your work life!

NCPG Training
There are a myriad of training sessions on the more technical aspects of planned giving. The National Committee on Planned Giving (NCPG) has a conference each year. NCPG also has a library of resources you can buy as you get “up to speed on the basic elements of planned giving. Check out the organization’s Web site for details at

NCPG also has 118 local chapters, many of which hold their own monthly, quarterly and sometimes annual training sessions. Further, many have developed effective mentoring programs where newcomers can be linked up with seasoned professionals.

There’s an NCPG chat room called “Gift PL” where PG professionals regularly go to ask questions, get answers and just visit with others about the experiences they’re having. There’s another “room” at Yahoo called

Other Training Sources
Software vendors also have training sessions. These sessions can be especially useful because you’ll learn the more technical aspects of planned giving while at the same time learning to use your software in creating illustrations for your PG prospects.

The “paper companies” provide a host of resource material to the PG community as well. Newsletters, pocket pamphlets, marketing strategies, consulting services and so forth are all part of what they do. Ask people in your local NCPG chapter which company they have used (and liked) and then check out its Web site. These companies frequently hold training sessions of their own.

Most new PGOs assume they must get technical training quickly.

And finally, don’t forget The PGT Marketplace! It provides a fairly comprehensive list of training sessions around the country. It comes regularly with your subscription to PGMentor, so check it out for training opportunities in your area.

Focus on Marketing
In my experience, most people who are new to planned giving assume they must get technical training quickly. However, the planned giving world has become full of technically competent professionals who are delighted to help you work through the technical issues associated with a PG arrangement(s).

However, planned giving officers still have a long way to go in terms of learning how to market planned gifts effectively. My encouragement to newcomers is to look carefully at organizations where the PG officer has worked for many years and where the PG donor base is growing. Spend a couple of hours visiting with that person. Who knows, maybe he or she could become your PG mentor!

Two hours learning the “ins and outs” of successful PG marketing can be worth two years of technical training when it comes to true success in planned giving.


Planned giving is a professional discipline few people imaged as a career option 15-20 years ago. According to their website, there are more than 11,000 people supporting the mission of the National Committee on Planned Giving—an organization that didn't exist 22 years ago. Read More

“The Planned Giving School was invaluable...the course not only increased my knowledge of all the planned giving vehicles available, but I also came away with a plan of action.”

Brennan Wood, Dougy Center

“...Our board met and determined that the amount of current bequests is approximately $4.2 million. We simply couldn't have generated these kinds of results, without CEPN.”

Tim Abrahamson, Board Chair, Salem Nazarene Foundation

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