by Melanie Norton
I was fortunate to attend the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning last week inSan Antonio,Texas. The Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP), formed in 1988 as the National Committee on Planned Giving, hosts this annual conference for the variety of professionals whose work involves charitable gift planning.
The annual conference is always an energizing opportunity to learn from and network with others who devote their time and energy to making charitable giving more meaningful. I’m always impressed with the variety of gift planners, major gifts officers, financial planners, attorneys, accountants, consultants and other professionals who attend and make this such a rewarding experience.
There were many common themes among the participants this year, but there remains an overriding desire among professionals to provide solutions that are in the best interests of both the donor and charitable entity, to do so in the highest ethical manner, and to seek closer relationships among all of the parties in the charitable process.
As uncertainty prospers, planning and staying ahead of the educational curve is becoming increasingly important. But, in this era of tighter budgets and fewer staff, breaking away to indulge in professional development is difficult at best. Staying on top of the latest information takes real dedication.
The PPP website offers helpful tips for those who might need extra support convincing his or her boss that a conference or other educational opportunity is a good investment. Consider sharing the following benefits:
- The opportunity to learn about new approaches or tactics developing in response to donor demographics, economic conditions and legislative/regulatory developments
- Contact with the nation’s leading experts in the field
- The ability to converse with quality service providers and vendors, as well as solicit feedback on their services from other attendees
- The occasion to dialog with fellow professionals – sometimes before and after the event – who do similar work
- Access to materials, both online and in person, for future reference and sharing with internal staff
Perhaps one or more of the above arguments will help you make the case for your next development opportunity. Take the time to refresh, learn from the best minds in the business, and form meaningful relationships with your professional colleagues. These investments of time and resources will serve both you and your constituents well in the future.