Aviva Shiff Boedecker Interview at National Conference on Philanthropic Planning

This week I’m at the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning. While here, I’ll interview a few people for Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio and also attend a few sessions.

My first interview was Aviva Shiff Boedecker. My partner in these podcast interviews is Raymund Flandez, reporter with The Chronicle of Philanthropy. He’s joining me later today.

Aviva’s seminar on Friday is Red Flags & Pitfalls of Planned Giving.  She used to have 10 red flags but has jacked it up to 11. That reminds me of the movie Spinal Tap, where the band’s amp has a volume setting of 11 for extra special gigs. I mentioned that during our interview and embarrassed myself by not remembering the name of the film. It occurred to me later and I interrupted her flow to blurt it out. Skilled interviewer, I.

Aviva shared that Planned Giving officers often aren’t aware of their own institutional policies. This leads to trouble when the gift officer assures the donor their gift will be accepted, without realizing a higher level of approval is required. The fundraiser might also promise credit and recognition that the nonprofit isn’t prepared to provide.

Your donor needs counsel that is qualified. Their real estate attorney isn’t knowledgeable in the details of a charitable remainder trust. (Difficult question that I’ve had to answer for clients: how far should the nonprofit go to insure qualified representation?)

Aviva Shiff Boedecker

“Be careful to avoid conflicts of interest,” Aviva warns. Even the appearance of a relationship that’s too cozy can lead to a gift challenge from heirs who feel they aren’t getting enough because your charity is getting a portion of the estate.

Her final advice: don’t be afraid to ask for help. As a gift officer you should know what you don’t know (didn’t Donald Rumsfeld call those “known unknowns”?), and consult an advisor who has the expertise you lack. That could be someone from your trustees or advisory board or a paid consultant. You need not work alone. If you do you could really screw things up. (That last sentence is my own commentary.)

I mentioned Rumsfeld to Aviva. Suffice to say, I don’t think she’s a neo-con lover.

If you’re at the conference you can hear Aviva’s full complement of 11 red flags on Friday 9 to 10. If you listen to my radio show, Friday’s 1 to 2PM Eastern, you’ll hear my full interview with Aviva. Not this week, but soon. You can sign-up for radio show alerts at the Facebook fan page.

Thanks for being my first guest, Aviva!

Next up is Kathryn Miree, this afternoon, on Endowments in Crisis! Raymund should be here by then.

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