Inspired Legacies Feed

Partnering with Advisors for Happy Clients and Large Gifts

Thursday through Saturday of last week I was in Houston for a workshop with Tracy Gary and about 30 nonprofit professionals and a handful of financial advisors. We discussed how to uplift the philanthropic ecosystem by getting donors, nonprofit and advisors to work together more effectively.  We agreed that good planning begins for a donor or a client from the donor/client's vision and values. We also agree that clients need good plans.  Where nonprofit people and advisors differ, I think, is the scope of the plan controlled by the donor's vision. This is a hugely important point; let me make it clear with a real world (now fictionalized) example.

Max Smith, age 70, sells commercial real estate. Last year he netted $14 million. He has zero interest in philanthropy, but is increasingly interested in doing something new. He feels he has one more big project in him and is casting about for what that might be.  His net worth is $100 million. Max is married to Lorraine. He gives her a $30,000 a year charitable budget. He and Lorraine have 2 children in their 40's. Both children have one child. All is well with the kids and grandkids. But Max and Lorraine are concerned about "how much is enough for the kids." Lorraine is concerned too about the health of society. What kind of world will these children and grandchildren inherit? What whirlwind will they reap?

Maxine is a "major donor" to Women's Foundation of Anytown, USA.  Maxine has worked through Tracy Gary's Inspired Philanthropy and has created a giving plan in the light of her vision and values, and her long term goals. She has decided to reduce her scattershot giving and to focus increasingly on the Women's Foundation.  She will up her gift this year from $10,000 to $15,000. She will also serve on the Board. Her sense is that it is women who will lead as we all seek to preserve a loving, just, and sustainable community for our heirs.

As an advisor, what I see is that the one with a vision is Lorraine, but that her vision only governs a piddling $30,000. The sad fact is that Max has not acheived a long term vision at this point. Another sad fact is that he is not a giver, yet. And a big sad fact is that he and Lorraine will owe, say, $30 million in estate tax some day. Perhaps another sad fact is that the children will inherit the remaining $70 million, more than Lorraine and Max may feel the kids really need.

As an advisor I believe that the vision for this family should govern and drive the entire $14 million a year of income and the entire $100 million of assets. For that to happen someone has to debrief this couple about their shared vision for the rest of their lives, for their children, their grandchildren, and for society. I suspect that Max will dominate the discussion of the numbers, but that he may well defer to Lorraine for a vision that goes beyond self and family. When it comes to kids, grandkids, and the claims of humanity, her voice may prevail.

I am reasonably sure that with proper planning this case calls for annual gifts over one million and a legacy of over $30 million. That would be a going in expectation. The real numbers will flow from their deepest, mutual goals. I also suspect that in setting specific giving goals that Lorraine may take the lead not only because she has the heart for it, but also because she has the relevant expertise and experience. She has been out and around in the community. She has served on boards, done volunteering, done site visits. She knows what fuels her own passion, and she knows the needs of the community. She knows what might interest the children and grandchildren, and she knows her husband well - what would interest him and engage him if he does decide to do one more major project. Perhaps he too will go into nonprofit service, or perhaps he will start a social venture.

Who knows where this case will go; it is a real case and it is still open. Max is meeting with a woman who is not a financial advisor, but a nonprofit person who holds herself out to the public as a giving consultant. Now, if this consultant operates with blinkers, she will work hard on that $30,000 annual giving budget. If she caught the point of view I was presenting in Tracy's workshop, she will get Max and Lorraine to clarify their big picture life and legacy goals. Then she will get them involved with advisors who can do financial and estate planning with a philanthropic twist. Net results? Mostly likely $50,000 plus in planning fees for the professionals. Commissions to advisors for products sold, perhaps in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, particularly for life insurance for estate planning. Annual giving budget increased by a factor of 100 ($3 million annual rather than $30,000 annually) and a legacy up from zero to at least the current amount slated for estate tax, say, $30 million. If $1 million each is enough for the kids, then maybe the charitable portion is $98 million. Who knows; but these are quite reasonable outcomes given the facts above. 

So, when you say you start with vision and values and do a legacy plan, what do you mean? Are you a giving professional who tweaks the $30,000 giving budget, trying to increase it a little, or to get a bigger slice, or are you the one who engages advisors and nets tens of millions of dollars in gifts now, later, and at death?

Working well with advisors is just working smart; and, it pays off in better plans for clients, and bigger gifts for charity. Also, the advisors to whom cases like this are referred will likely reciprocate with referrals back. 


Mapping The Philanthropic Ecosystem

The Ecosystem of Philanthropy

Who is part of your "better world" ecosystem? That is, if you want to create for yourself and those you love a better life in a better world, what other "players" impinge on you, for good or ill? And how might you, then, uplift both your own actions and the overall ecosystem so that a better world is possible? That is the line of thought that I have been pursuing within an informal network over the last several years. I will organize for my own use these observations under key names in my ecosystem.

Tracy Gary

Key actors in her vision are donor, advisor, and nonprofit. Key indicator of success is the number of dollars raised. Key driver of dollars raised is donor training to help the donor manage the planning process with advisors towards a more inspired, but also prudent result. As donors are trained to ask for philanthropic plans that very request will motivate more advisors to provide such plans.  Training for advisors would then be well-received, since tied to a practical result, that of meeting a real demand. Also, a key actor is the next generation, the children of the donor. If money goes to charity it might come at the expense of taxes first, but at some point it will come at the expense of inheritance. Hence, children must be raised and mentored in their roles as carriers on of a giving tradition. Nonprofits on this model become the convener of the appropriate training and conversation and network.

Tracy and I will present this vision to Advisors in Philanthropy at their Annual Conference next week. The following week I will present a version of it to Southeastern Council of Foundations.  We do have some early success stories. A number of other professionals have expressed interest in this way uplifting the philanthropic ecosystem.

Catherine Austin Fitts

A former investment banker, and former assistant director of HUD, Catherine seems to have stumbled upon the dark side of money and become for awhile an "enemy of the state," as she puts it with a smile, suffering the tribulations of Job, as a lesson in civics for herself and others. She is not keen on philanthropy, because she has seen where money, in certain cases, comes from, with whom it consorts behind the scenes, and how brutally those who control so much of the world's money and power behave when their insider games are outed or challenged. She has seen philanthropy used as cover or cleanser for the reputations of people who should probably be in jail for financial fraud, extortion, drug running, betrayal of the public trust, mere graft, or high crimes and misdemeanors. She also sees that philanthropy will be tolerated as a cleanser as long as it remains both upbeat and ineffectual. Philanthrocapitalism is also safe because it does not challenge, in fact personifies the hegemonic game.

You might think, then, that while Tracy is liberal that Catherine is a revolutionary Marxist taking her cue from Che. In fact she is a Christian Conservative taking her cue from Adam Smith and Jesus Christ, which makes her a dangerous mind. She is not asking capitalism to give way to socialism. She is demanding that capitalism live up to its own founding ideals: financial transparency, honest  book keeping, the rule of law, and the prosecution of criminals regardless of their wealth, rank, philanthropy, connections, or access to armed force, or criminal networks.

Catherine urges us to create a better, more financially intimate world, by withdrawing wealth from the rigged and gamed financial markets and reinvesting in places governed by the rule of law, maybe New Zealand, or maybe your home town, or among a circle of friends who have farms, small businesses, or a local bank.  As an investment banker she thinks bigger than that too, asking who will own the water supply, for example, in your town? Who will commandeer the food supply? Might we not form investment pools that would allow local decision makers to steward such resources for the good of the town, rather than, say, Nestles?

You can see that this is not your idea of "philanthropy," but the actors named by Catherine (the drug dealers, the slum lords, the corrupt governmental officials gaming the sub-prime mess, the investment bankers bringing for profit prisons to market, the private bankers who own the Fed, the governors owning prison stocks and passing "three strikes you're out" laws, the shadowy actors trading drugs for arms and arms for hostages,  the corrupt accountants of both business and government, the blackmailers and hit squads operating here and abroad to silence those who out the dirty game) are part of the same ecosystem in which philanthropy goes about its upbeat work.  Some capitalist like Boverton Beaver who has made billions out of buying companies in, say, the liquor business, gambling stocks, the porn business, or armaments, or in for profit prisons, might call himself a Double Bottom Line Social Investor and might start a double bottom line bakery employing at low wages the convicts on parole from the prison he owns up the hill from the ghetto, blighted by the drug lord whose Harvard educated son sits with Boverton on the board of the local hospital, or the home town newspaper, or serves on a Blue Ribbon Commission studying urban poverty.  That philanthrocapitalist might then endow a business school, or a chair in social venture capitalism, or might fund a DC Think Tank on Engaged Philanthropy, or on Pro-Market Public Policy, or might hire out the writing of any number of white papers and scholarly studies on metrics for double bottom line firms.  All this might then be applauded by leading philanthropy bloggers who, in their business life, consult to the banks and the brokerage houses with their captive philanthropy departments catering to private wealth from sources both light and dark, or who make their living managing Boverton's money. So the world closes back on itself in an ecosystem in which the herbivores, the carnivores, and the hominids thrive and prosper - up to a point, though that punctuated equilibrium is far from optimal from the standpoint of human flourishing. 

H. Peter Karoff, Amy Kass, Bill Schambra, and others Devoted to the Liberal Arts

What other actors? What are we leaving out? How about the teachers, writers, artists, prophets, and thinkers who are the masters of our spiritual, intellectual, ethical, and cultural traditions? (If you are not familiar with such figures you might think instead of Star Wars or Marvel Comics or Grand Theft Auto or the Matrix; those may be close enough to wisdom, if that is all you have and you don't know the difference.) If our better world is to be guided by what T. E. Hulme called "the best that has been thought and said," then we must listen to voices of the graces, or the holy spirit, or the muses,  or the voice that speaks out of the thunder, or the still voice we have been ignoring, or whatever one wishes to call that voice that rises in us when we are obedient to what is greater than ourselves, what is most alive and life-giving in our traditions. I could go on at great length on this point. Eloquence trumps power. The pen is mightier than the sword. Love conquers all. And the dead shall rise into eternal life, dead or not, as they live on within the tradition they would not betray, even at the cost of their own life, the ultimate gift.  As different as are the three figures mentioned above they share an almost helpless love for the life of the mind and of the spirit. When they discuss giving, it is within the shadow of Mt Ararat  within eyeshot of the ruined garden. I am not implying that they would get crossways with worldly wealth or power. We catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Phil to Thee

Well, you can see that the company I keep makes my head ache and buzz.  What I come down to is this: Whatever is the correct map of the ecosystem in which we live, whatever actors you see, or think you see, whichever you name, or fear to name, whatever your personal resources, you cannot blink the questions:

  1. What kind of person do you want to be?
  2. In what kind of world?

As you meditate on those questions, you will need your own vision of success, and a realistic model of your current situation - whether upbeat or dark or chiaroscuro. Given that vision of a better life in a better world, and given your assessment of what you are up against, you will have to make your own decisions, in the light of the traditions that speak to you and through you, as to how you will deploy your money, your time, your attention, your life energy, and your love within a risk profile that includes your assessment of the probability of success or failure under conditions you can barely discern. Each of us can see only a little.

Best Practices within a Learning Community

As we find our way, across this landscape, let us share what we see, share what we learn, mapping our terrain, and sharing the paths that lead out of the dark wood into the light. As you address the two questions above (and they cannot be evaded for the evasion itself is an answer), consider sharing what works and does not work so that we can collectively do better than we could alone. I am trying to take that approach here sharing my notes on what I am learning, and hope you will share as well, whether through a note to me, or on your own blog, or however you wish.  Perhaps if we live in truth, and speak what we know, and look out for each other, we  not only ameliorate specific ills,  and prosper in our own lives, but also uplift the overall ecosystem of which our efforts individually are but a tiny part. 


The Professional Education of Advisors in Philanthropy (Notes for Donors and Nonprofit Leaders Working With Advisors and Around Them)

Educating Advisors in Philanthropy

We have been asking the general question, "What education is appropriate for those engaged in philanthropy?" We could ask the more limited question, "What education is most appropriate to those who advise clients about philanthropy?" One answer is the syllabus for the American College's Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy. (I hold that designation.) If you check out the course work you will find that it consists mostly of tax, legal, and financial training, with some attention to marketing. Other topics are treated in passing, but there is nothing on informed grant-making. And, there is nothing on what you might call vision, values, ideals. There is no taxonomy of the nonprofit sector. There is little on civil society, or the value of the nonprofit sector. There is nothing drawn from the moral, philosophical, and religious traditions of giving. If philanthropy belongs in "the Ideal School of Arts and Sciences," this curriculum is almost exclusively from the sciences - money, law, tools and techniques, strategies and tactics.

Vision and Priorities: The Donor/Client's Responsibility

To prospective donors and clients I would say: Recognize that ends in view, the purposes served, the vision and goals - the wisdom - of your financial, estate, and philanthropic plans is your non-delegable responsibility. You can bring in advisors for help on tools and techniques, on tactics and strategies, and on effective grant-making, for that matter, but the ends in view, the balance among priorities, only you can set that direction. "Cultivating wisdom, or large-mindedness, is not my job," so most advisors would assert. Most fundraisers would say the same. Most grant making or foundation consultants would agree that they serve the client's stated agenda, rather than conveying or cultivating wisdom and virtue. ("That would be presumptuous," they might say. "I don't want to impose my values." "One person's wisdom is another's folly; it is a free country; the client gives us the ends in view, and we apply the needed strategies.")

Cultivating our Humanity - Whose?

So, whose calling is it to "cultivate our humanity," in Seneca's phrase? Yours as a donor, parent, citizen, spiritual being. Yours as a nonprofit leader. Perhaps we each can cultivate our humanity, beginning with our own, including spouse and heirs, and then the communities to which the family belongs, contributes, and amongst whom it dwells or worships. In that effort we are not just client and advisor, or donor and nonprofit fundraiser, but fellow human beings and fellow citizens. Even those without wealth are able to give of time and love and energy.

Are Life Coaches the Answer?

I have heard it suggested that the wisdom consulting role (the role of Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, as I wryly put it) is best filled by a Life Coach. I can see that emerging as an answer. (Tracy Gary suggests it as does Jerry Chasen, both of whose judgment I deeply respect.) But here is a caution. We can very neatly for rhetorical purposes separate the conversation of ends from the conversation of means. We can say, for the conversation of ends, talk to a) your Rabbi b) your Life Coach c) your therapist. For the conversation of means, we could say, talk to your tax, legal, and financial advisors, plus a consultant on grant-making. But in truth the conversations go in circles and zigzags.

What begins as a conversation about a tactic ("Should I go with a donor advised fund or a foundation?") quickly becomes a conversation about family ("Who will run it when I am gone?") and one about society ("How will my charitable vehicle make the world a better place?") and one about finance ("How much could I afford to contribute? Can it come at the expense of taxes, rather than my kids? What property is the right property to give? Cash? Stock? Closely held stock? Now? Later? At death?"). The conversation swings among such considerations, ricocheting off imponderables. ("Did I tell you that Mary, our daughter is in rehab?" "Are you aware that my husband has terminal cancer?" "Does it matter that my spouse is a nonresident alien?"). So, the Life Coach who cannot in any way respond to the financial and legal and tax items embedded in the questions above may not be able to keep the conversation going. The Life Coach might encourage a vision that is in reality just an empty dream, or even a dangerous delusion, if the Coach has no sense of financial facts and feasibility. The Life Coach may or may not be privy to the financial information, and may or may not be accepted as  a peer at the client's planning table, among advisors each of whom is, candidly, vying for "client control." So, while an interesting adjunct to the team, and perhaps a good person to help the client keep from stalling in the process, a Life Coach may not necessarily be the right catalyst for a feasble overall vision.

Creating an Open Space for Civic Reflection

For those of you who are conveners, or in donor networks, or who work for nonprofits or community foundations, the "hole" at the center of the the philanthropic process, the hole around helping clients articulate high ideals, in the context of wealth, family, and community, represents a missed opportunity. No one person can fill that role. And, all who might try have a "leash," in that each is most likely tied to an institution that allows that advisor only so much slack. ("Well, Jack, you have spent hours with that client/donor. What are you billing? What gifts have you raised? How much product have you sold? etc. When are you going to bring in the check?"). 

To create an open space for donors, or clients to connect with their own wisdom traditions, their own ideals, their inspiration (as Tracy Gary calls it) - that strikes me as a key unmet opportunity in Dallas, and in most places. I am talking to some people here about it, and would be interested in your thoughts. A bibliography would not be hard to create. A book club would be easy enough to convene. Charles Collier's book, Tracy Gary's, H. Peter Karoff's, Bill Somerville's, or those of Amy Kass come to mind. Let's see if we can create a space for civic reflection that is oriented to inspired action in concert with advisors and nonprofits. How do we make a living doing that? I have no answer to that. It seems like volunteer work. For those whose gift is time and talent, and whose "excellence" or virtue is the art and science of cultivating our humanity,  I can't think of a better way to foment a better world, while respecting the moral agency of our leading citizens.


Inspired Philanthropy: Collaborating for The Commonweal

Competing or Completing? Beyond Planned Gifts as Transactions

In 2002 Robert Sharpe wrote an interesting article for Trusts & Estates, "Competing or Completing? Balancing the roles of various professionals in planning charitable giving maximizes the benefits for all."  I would like to second the spirit of his piece, while recommending that we as diverse professionals go beyond collaborating on specific "gift transactions" to collaborating on an overall legacy planning process of which the specific gift transaction is but one tactic or strategy. My sense is that such a collaborative process would transform our field for the better, move more money, and make our donor clients much happier and more fulfilled. In the process we advisors and gift planners will do ok too.

When we think of planned gifts as  specific  vehicles, like a donor advised fund, or a charitable remainder trust, offered by both nonprofits and for-profits we might ask, as Robert Sharpe does, whether the two distribution systems are competitors or complements.  Considered in that way, a life insurance agent "selling" a Charitable Remainder Trust payable at death to charity Y is competing with charity X who might have written the CRT payable to them. Likewise, Fidelity might compete with a community foundation for donor advised fund assets.  But let us say that the topic is not promoting a specific gift vehicle, or making a sale, but helping the donor client create an overall plan that is both prudent and inspired. (Prudent means a plan that takes care of the client and the client's family come what may. Inspired means having a positive impact on the community.) How then do the players arrange themselves around that program or process?  A case study may help us get the issues in perspective.

Case Study: Beyond Transactions to Prudent and Inspired Collaboration

Mary and John are worth $10 million, most of it in their closely held business. They are both 55. Both are active in the business and own 100% of the stock. They have two children, Alan and Marcie. Alan is a painter in NYC, barely getting by. He is single. Marcie is married with two children. She is the Comptroller in the family firm.  John and Mary are active in Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago where they live.  They have thought about spending more time working with the Church and less time in the business.  They dream of devoting their lives to working with disadvantaged children, instilling faith and character in children at risk.  Not only would they like to do more volunteering, they wonder if they might fund or endow a program and a facility. A local competitor has been making overtures to the family to sell the business.  Here are the questions on Mary and John's  mind. (These questions have been elicited in part by their lead advisor and in part through their own reflections.)

Questions

  • Should we sell, retire, and spend more time on volunteer work with the Church?
  • If we do sell at the proffered price will we have enough to live on for the rest of our lives?
  • Are we protected against major downside risks (death, disability, falling markets, liability, lawsuits, sickness, long term care needs, property and casualty losses)?
  • If we both die tonight, we owe what in estate tax? $3 million?
  • Can we reduce estate taxes in favor of the Church?
  • If we sell out to the buyer, where does that leave Marcie? Will she be out of a job?
  • If we sell to the outsider what will be the capital gains tax?
  • Should we find a way to keep the business in the family?
  • If so should it go to Marcie? And if so what do we give to her brother, Alan?
  • Should we divide our estate half and half for the kids? Or should Marcie get the bulk of it because she has helped us build the business?
  • If we let Marcie run the business when we retire, and she pays us some consulting fees so we have money to live on, and she then runs the business into the ground where does that leave us?
  • Can we afford to do more for Holy Name today? If we sell? At death?
  • How can we structure our affairs so we could do more now, later, and at death for Holy Name, minimize income tax and estate tax, while also taking care of ourselves and our children?
  • How can we balance all this?
  • Where do we start?
  • Who can help us?
  • Should we ask Marcie and Alan what they think? (If only they ever agreed about anything!)
  • Who should be at the legacy planning table when we sort all this out?

Exercises

  1. Check the questions you think need to be answered by someone.  Put a Y by those you can answer all by yourself from your seat at the table.
  2. Ask yourself which professionals are needed to do justice to this fact pattern? Attorney, CPA, Financial planner who can do a comprehensive financial plan,  financial product salesperson, planned giving consultant, banker, business valuation expert, other?
  3. Is there a logical order as among: goal clarification, fanning philanthropic intent, running financial scenarios, explaining planning concepts (including but not limited to giving opportunities), communicating with children, finalizing the overall plan, implementing products, legal documents, and gifts?
  4. Is the logical order the order you employ in your work with donor/clients?

Observations and Suggestions

  • Most financial salespeople and most gift planners working for nonprofits "pitch" rather than plan. They lead with a solution before understanding the pertinent context. ("Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.") We as a field have to get past this package sale mentality for larger client/donors who have complex needs and whose potential gifts merit lots of tender loving care.
  • The family above might need a charitable remainder trust, or a foundation, or a donor advised fund, or a charitable lead trust, or an outright gift, or a bequest, but it is way premature to pitch any of those. We have not even finished the fact-finding and goal setting.
  • Well over half the challenge in working with complex situations like the one above are the human dilemmas, not the financial conundrums.  The issues in the case above are those of love and money, of fairness, and the push pull between self interest and giving, between playing it safe for self and family, and doing something wonderful for the Church as soon as possible.
  • To resolve such dilemmas good planning will run scenarios and quantify the possible consequences of all the permutations and combinations of tools, tactics, and techniques, but in the end the family must wend its own way in this "dark wood" of moral and prudential choices.
  • Some family decisions are made with advisors. Others on our knees in prayer, or in the dark of the night, tossing and turning. What is at issue here is the trajectory of many lives.   
  • The family needs an open ear. They need someone they can trust, not just to run the numbers, do the legal work, plead for the needs of the Church, sell financial products, or close various aspects of the "case." They need a friend with an open ear, who will listen as they feel their way through this dark wood.
  • The trusted advisor, or confidant, can be anyone on the team. But the trusted advisor cannot just be a special pleader. He or she will get paid in one way or another, and will represent this or that position at the table, but the trusted advisor rises above his or her professional specialty and his or her way of getting paid, and earns the right to be the trusted advisor by simply listening, processing the information, and allowing the family to make its own best decisions. The trusted advisor may also slow down the process, involve other needed specialists, or towards the end, gently urge the process to a conclusion.
  • The default choice in a case like the one above is for the family to play it safe. They might well say, "Charity starts at home," if the Church is too urgent about philanthropy. Given the parents unresolved dilemmas, given the murk and uncertainty, the most likely outcome is to do not much, or not much right now.
  • If properly planned a case like this could well result in a gift to the Church of several million dollars. But the Church won't get it for asking. They won't get it for pleading. And they are not likely to get it by pitching Charitable Trusts in a vacuum. They need to be at the planning table, or within earshot of it, as the whole plan comes together.

Competition or Collaboration?

  • So, if you represent the Church, as a fundraiser, what is your next move with this family? My sense is that the best move is to presume upon the common bond of religious faith, and the common bond of Holy Name Cathedral, to simply listen. Emerge as trusted advisor, or as confidante, or as an advocate for the fellow parishioner's better angel, the client's best self. Then, convene the team. Stay quietly involved as the team works forward.  Continue to cultivate and to act as sounding board.  As the team plans the options, your role  as  gift planner will come into focus, and you will get your chance to discuss the gift options in the context of the overall plan.
  • If you are tax, legal, or financial advisor, what is your next move, if you are first person to whom these clients turn? Will you or won't you contact the Cathedral? Maybe that will depend on how the Cathedral has positioned itself in town and with you. Do you think of their Stewardship Committee as fellow professionals who will assist in a team effort, or do you think of them as special pleaders with a one track mind, or as well meaning people who have no sense of the proper process, and who are always closing for action prematurely?
  • Ideally, Holy Name has cultivated the professional community and positioned itself as a caring team member. If so, whoever gets the case going will feel at ease involving the others who need to be at the table to do justice to this family's plan.
  • If we all were to operate in this spirit we would do better for our donor/clients and they in turn would do better for their heirs and for the community.

Practical Steps for Nonprofits, Donors, and Advisors

  1. Check out the Resources tab at Inspired Philanthropy.
  2. Appendices A and B outline a simple process for bringing donors, advisors, and nonprofits together in common purpose.
  3. Consider an event or series of events to educate all three groups.
  4. Tracy Gary and I have intentionally put this material out there for all to use. We believe in cooperative advantage and in public goods. We don't want to corner the market on philanthropy. We know that others can adapt these materials to their own communities and make them their own. We want that. Out of such experiments, we want to create an informal learning community so we can uplift giving and givers. The spirit is not unlike "Leave a Legacy."
  5. Per Tracy, the materials in the Appendices go over well with their intended audience. In her words, "They love it and money is moving."
  6. If you do improvise your own approach to the issues discussed above, please share the results with me, either in comments left on the blog or by email, so we can learn together.



Legacy Planning: A Fool's Advice and a Knave's Rebuttal

Legacy Planning Process: Who is a stakeholder? Who is heard? Who is talked about in absentia? Who speaks for whom? Who makes decisions on whose behalf? Who lives with those decisions after the fact?

Stakeholders: Parents, children, grandchildren, generations unborn; nonprofits and society at large; living creatures large and small; those employed by or customers and constituents of family controlled entities (businesses, trusts, foundations, lobbying arms, newspapers, think tanks, social ventures, nonprofits, governmental entities, oval offices, moats, and dungeons); the attorney, CPA, trust officer, insurance professional, financial advisor, family psychologist, philanthropic consultant, fundraiser, religious and moral advisors.

Scope of The Wealthy Family's Vision, Mission, Strategies, Tools, Tactics, Implementation
: Personal wealth and personal time and talent; family wealth time and talent; connections, board positions, "pull";  societal needs; the capacities of others to be led, mobilized, activated, or deluded whether within hierarchies, publics, or lattice structures of friends and  friends of friends (movements, cabals, private societies, taste making, trend-setting, heroism).

The Dynastic Dance: In the dance of the elements above who leads and who follows over what range and in what order?

  • Who leads as to the vision of a better life for the family, of better family members (more fully developed as ethical, capable and engaged human beings) in a better world for all?
  • Who is heard when the wealth is set up for the children? Are they?
  • Who speaks for the complexity of the plan, and how all the entities and tools will be managed?
  • Who visualizes and scripts the ongoing family chronicle, the story of the family and its origins and ends?
  • Who works across the generations, and the silos of expertise, to make the plan, like a Constitution, a living tradition?
  • Who governs and manages the ongoing work of the plan, and the entities it controls?

Leverage Points For Social and Family Good

Negative

  • Advisors who say, "Whatever you want, Boss, I am here to serve" are necessary, like soldiers whether in the army or the mob, but they are not to control the process of setting the vision, the tone, the spirit, the meaning or the purpose.  They may call themselves "Trusted Advisor" and compare themselves to Richelieu, but they are Toadies all the same, unless they challenge as well as serve the vision.
  • Parents who make decisions as to vision, goals, end results wanted, without consultation with their own better angel, without consultation with other stakeholders, such as children employees, nonprofits of importance to the family, and fellow citizens.
  • Advisors, heirs, and others who seek to win at the other's expense, jockeying for power, wealth, access, and control as in the court of the Medicis.

Mixed

  • Clients and advisors who see giving as a tool or technique of tax reduction, and never get around to talking about social purpose and effect.
  • Trusted Advisors who thoughtfully elicit but never challenge vision and values. ("Values-neutral values-based planners.")
  • Fundraisers and planned giving officers who extract cash and assets for social good without knowledge of, interest in, or concern for, the larger plan of which the giving is a part.
  • Moral and religious professional advisors who preach a general sermon, then bow on the church steps and shake the wealthy parishioner's hand, or invite the wealth holder to a private supper to discuss the vestry committee and its works, leaving any particular discussion of the donor's morals aside.

Positive

  • Parents who include children and other stakeholders early in the process to help crystalize the vision.
  • Advisors who convene rather than control, who listen for vision, not just opportunities for this or that tool or planning technique.
  • Advisors who work as a team, keeping one another informed within a sense of common purpose.
  • Advisors who have the courage and skill to play devil's advocate, or Socratic questioner, around an emerging vision that is shallow, half considered, or riven with contradictions, family dysfunction, and vanities.
  • Nonprofits who have an effect at the vision level, not just around a gift, but around a sense of what it is for the family to live a good, ethical, or noble life, within a good or just society within a thriving natural world.
  • Children who do their own planning well, and ask parents if they can be included in the larger family planning sessions at least as to goals. (" But Dad we would rather have a foundation get that money.....")
  • Fools who turn the world upside down, if only by aping the advisors with their long faces, long ears, and long tails.

My Own Tutor's Rebuttal

Well, I showed this post to my mentor, the Happy Tutor, Dungeon Master to the Stars, over in Wealth Bondage, America's Most Wonderful Company. I wanted to make sure that this post was not offensive in any way to the higher ups. I don't want Candidia, our mutual boss, to be upset with me. I need a job and I need the money, such as it is.  Teaching philanthropy may be a load of crap, but it sure beats loading body parts into the freezer in the Chill Room.  Tutor's comment was, "Never send a Fool to  do a  Sadist's job, Phil. Send those wealthy sons of bitches over here and I will beat into their bottoms what you fail to drive into their numb skulls." Tutor was drunk at the time, and it is probably unfair to quote him out of context -  a Dumpster full of Garbage where he holds court, naked and unashamed on his own time, after work.

Closing Comment to My Fellow Professionals in Wealth Bondage

We can't save the wealthy from themselves, contrary to what Tutor may think. But we can get rich off them, and escape a beating ourselves, if you follow my advice above. Moderation all things. If you get too idealistic you are setting yourself up to fail. It is not our decision whether the client wants to save the world, rule it, or destroy it. Give the customer what the customer wants, make a ton of money, and give your own opinion, when it is less risky to do so. Now, back to work, there is a fresh load of body parts down on the loading dock.  Get it cleaned up fast. The motorcade from DC is arrives in 30 minutes. We got a Dynasty to plan here folks.


The Legacy Planning Table - Who Has a Seat?

The Legacy Planning Table

At the planning table when the parents draw up the documents with advisors, who has a seat?

  1. Mother and Father
  2. Tax Attorney
  3. CPA
  4. Financial Advisor
  5. Trust Officer
  6. Insurance Professional
  7. Business Valuation Expert
  8. Philanthropic Consultant
  9. Fundraiser/Planned Giving Officer
  10. Family psychologist or family facilitator

1 and 2 certainly. Most likely 3 and 4.  Possibly 5. Very likely 6.  Sometimes 7 . Rarely 8.  Almost never 9. Seldom 10, though it may be a good addition.

How about the children, the grown heirs? Seldom or never, yet what a difference for the better it could make to include them before the plans are drawn. Children who are included will not "misread" the final documents as a critique of them. ("Daddy rules me from the grave through my trust officer because Daddy never loved me, never trusted me, and hated my boyfriend. He called my boyfriend a 'predator.' Why did Daddy do this to me? How did I deserve this? No one will ever love me for myself, only for my money. My peers just want to get a loan. No one can understand why I never had a job. Why should I work? My trust gives me more than I could ever make. I have done nothing all my life. I am a failure!") For jolting insights into the Boomer experience with inheritance, see the books documenting many heirs' experiences at The Inheritance Project)

Case Study

Imagine that a family has $10 million. Imagine that if both parents die tonight that the scorecard is like this:

Plan A - Current

$7  million to children
$ 3  to the IRS
$ 0 to charity

Now imagine that with a little work it could look like this, a tax efficient plan.

Plan B

$ 9 million to the children
$ 1 million to IRS
$ 0 to charity

Now imagine that it could also look like this.

Plan C

$ 0 to IRS
$ 10 million to children: Some outright, some in trust, and some in a foundation they can manage.

Who is to say which of these plans, or many more, is "best"? Who is to say which is best for the children, and then the grandchildren down the line? Can parents makes these difficult decisions wisely without giving the grown children a seat at the planning table?

The Rising Generation

I am encouraged by what I see of Gen Y heirs. They have a healthier attitude about inherited wealth than did the Boomers who have filled shelves with books like "The Dark Side of Wealth," about the psychodrama of secrecy and family intrigue around inheritances and its lasting and devastating effect. The new generation is, I hear from its members, politely but persistently asking for their seat at the table when the planning that will impact their lives and their own children's lives is done.

Tip for Future Heirs

What follows is a "best practice" gleaned from an heir who shall remain nameless. She is very bright, a grad student at a top university, and "out" about her money. She is active in giving circles and in peer circles with other Gen Y philanthropically active heirs. Here is what she did:  She had her own financial, estate, and legacy plan drawn up to deploy her own now paltry assets. She took that plan to her wealthy parents and said, "Well, here is my plan. May I see yours?"

Tip for Parents

Why not suggest your children do a financial, estate, and legacy plan for themselves. See how they do. Assist them only if they ask. Let them muddle through. Suggest they have you look at it and offer an opinion. Then, perhaps, you will be willing to share your plan. If you think about it, your child's plan will not change your life, but your plan will certainly change his or hers. As you reflect on the planning scenarios open to you, would your heir's input not be relevant? You can ignore his or her expressed wishes, and perhaps in some cases you should, but those wishes are relevant, and may outlive you, whether in joy or bitterness.  You get the last word in the legal documents. The kids get the last word interpreting your life is family stories. Your legacy is more than money. Let it be more than ashes. Let it be wisdom, courage, and joy.  Let how you do your plan, the virtues your planning process embodies, be the tradition that lives on in memory, imitated by your heirs and on down the line. 

What Counts as Winning in Legacy Planning?

Lower taxes, transmission of family values, creation of autonomous adults, passing of business interests, the family's multi-generational impact on society? What counts as winning for you as parents, or as heirs, and how will you work towards the shared win that will unite the family, and help it stand for what you as a family know is right? A wise planning process maybe starts with open conversation among the stakeholders. If that is difficult, you can be sure that the reading of your will is going to be a tumultuous day. Why not face forward into the difficulties and resolve them as best you can while you are alive, before the attorney stands up in his dark suit, soon after your funeral, to read the legal language that will strike a chill in the hearts of those you love? There should be "nothing new" in the documents read at your death. The plan was made together; you pass the  baton;  and the  race  goes  forward, generation by generation in love, joy, and forgiveness.


Your Life Work and Inspired Legacy

To follow this post, please pop up the visual by downloading the one page diagram in here in pdf

The Scope of Effective Philanthropic Planning

At the heart or center of your life work and your legacy is Vision. But vision alone won't do it. You also need a plan. For that you need advisors. Nor will you change the world by yourself. You need allies, collaborators, and civic friends. So, beyond vision, could we say that you also need Leadership? At least you need to convene and build a Team?  And you need to be able to manage (or get managed) a complex process.

  • Vision? What is it a vision of? Well, the diagram shows you the scope of a vision that encompasses a significant life work and inspired legacy. We can start anywhere. The lines going this way and that make the point that there is no one place to start. The elements are intricately inter-connected. Start where you are, but include each element in the vision that you are deepening, enlarging, and bringing into focus, so that it will inspire you, guide others, and get the results you want for self, family, and society. Getting the vision in focus takes time. And it takes research, conversation, collaboration.  A mature vision is the fruit of experience. We start with a vision, make a Fool of ourselves, realize it was a dream, and start again, sadder and wiser. (I speak from experience, a Fool still after all these years.)
  • Let's start for expository purposes with the lower left, with Identity, also known as Self. Ah yes, don't we usually start with Moi, as Ms Piggy would say? Self, though, or Identity goes beyond our own skin. We are who we are because of our personal history, our, where we came from, where we are and where we see ourselves headed: our Life Story. Our identity reflects Family, those we love and have been loved by. Our identity is also embedded in a Community and its Traditions, our Heritage. The apple contains the seed. The seed contains the orchard. Our life work and legacy are the seed that we plant in the present and the future as the past was implanted in us by those who loved, reared, taught, and cultivated what was best in us. The "Self" part also includes our Values, our Ethics, our Worldview, our Politics in both the narrow and wide sense, not only our voting patterns but our sense of what it is to live in a good or just society, a world we want, as Peter Karoff says. So, even though we are talking now about Self, you can see we are also beginning to talk about everything else on the diagram. For the self is oriented in time, and from its little spot in the world, armed with its financial and personal resources, it looks forward and back in time, sees itself surrounded by concentric circles of relationship, and, its vision, bounded by a horizon, sees perhaps glimmers of eternity like stars rising.
  • Now come to Finances. I work with those who work all day with money. Speaking of vision and horizons, money people tend to see finance as about lowering risk, increasing return, lowering taxes, and growing assets over time. I call that a "prudent plan." We all need a prudent plan to care for self and family come what may. But we also need an "inspired plan." An inspired plan includes all that a prudent plan does but goes beyond that to create a positive impact on society. This diagram is meant to "open the eyes" not only of clients but also of advisors whose worldview is bounded by money and prudence. Under Finance, an inspired plan will include a Financial Plan for lifetime needs, an Estate Plan for legacies at death, and a Philanthropic Plan for creating social impact. The philanthropic plan will include the various tools and techniques of giving. It will also include a philanthropic budget for giving now, later, at death, and beyond death. And it will specify how the money will be given or used to create a social impact. (Tracy Gary's Inspired Philanthropy is wonderful on these topics. She has generously made her key worksheets available for free under Resources on her book's website.)
  • From Finances, we found ourself glancing at the other key points on our diagram: Time Frame for Giving, Recipient, Impact, and Logic Model. In other words, we went from money to what it is for and how it will be deployed for social effect. Start with a Benefit you might want for society. Work back to a project or organization that might produce that benefit or be conducive to that result. Then begin to consider what investment might be needed to get a meaningful result, and think about the timing of that investment. Now, later, at death, after death? When will the money, or for that matter your time, life energy, and leadership, have the greatest impact? If you think now or soon, do your Finances support freeing up time or money now to get impact? If so where should the money go to get impact? An existing nonprofit for their general fund? For a specific project inside the nonprofit? For a social venture? For a double bottom line business? Under Benefits and with Time Frame and Finances and Values in mind too, think about yourself and your loved ones. On your present plan will your kids be rich when you die? Do they have the values, the character, and the experience to handle wealth productively? If you are trying to pass on your values as well as your valuables, would it make sense to model giving and teach giving and to mentor heirs starting sooner - as part of your life work -- rather than later, or after you are dead? You may conclude that life work is legacy. Doing it now, or starting soon, with your children may be the best "legacy" you could leave. Raised and mentored that way, a big inheritance may be a blessing, one that will help them lead more productive lives as they follow your example of civic engagement.
  • Now we come to "Logic Model." Some people also may call this a "Theory of Social Change." The point is that results do not happen by chance, or always by plan either. We think we understand what will connect our inputs to our outputs and outcomes, but not all plans or strategies for achieving a result succeed. The model must, like any theory, be tested, scrapped, modified as experience grows. You might think that for every social need you could go to a website and download "the current wisdom" and the theories of social change that have been proven to work. Would it were so. The field of giving is so fractured and the knowledge so embedded in silos that it is very hard for new funders to benefit from the wisdom and experience of those who have gone before. When I am asked where to find such knowledge, I suggest the donor reframe the issue. What the donor needs, generally, is not a book, or website, but an appropriate introduction to a face to face living network. It is not enough even to know that such networks exist, you may also need an introduction from a mutual friend to "break into" the field. I am not sure that it is good or bad that funders are cliquish, aren't we all? But this is not just a knowledge game, it is a game of civic friendships, and friends of friends, and being handed from one person to another, as gatekeepers open doors, and friends vouch for friends.
  • Back to Vision, Leadership, and Team Building: I treasure my friendship with Tracy Gary, and others established funders like Steve Johnson, and H. Peter Karoff, who have opened doors for me, and introduced me into the world of established philanthropy, of heirs, and old money, and long standing traditions of giving. But I am a Dumpster Dweller, not an heir. Almost all my work experience is around "Wealth in Transition," that is, entrepreneurs who have made it all themselves, and who at a certain point, begin to ask about life work and legacy. They have done a lot, but long to do more, to have an impact on family, but also on society, to stand for something and to live up to what is most alive in themselves, to leave a mark, and to be the kind of person their children will be proud of, and draw inspiration from. For these new or soon-to-be-funders, the diagram is meant to explode in the brain like a grenade. Most should immediately recognize that 99% of their planning is under Finance. For all the products, tools, tactics, and fees, the planning is visionless, blind, myopic. Even philanthropic planning under finance is all about money, all about tax. Sad, very sad.

Getting Started

So, how can such a new or potential funder get going? Where to begin? I would say this: Work on a draft of your financial and estate plan to see if you can "step up" your giving, now, later or at death. See if you can step up time devoted to civic engagement, perhaps with your children and spouse engaged as well. See if you have more money than is needed for your own and children's financial security. See how much "stacks" up in your estate. See how much will go in estate taxes when you and your spouse are gone. All that is a draft. Keep it in draft and go in search of wisdom, not cunning.

For the life work and legacy plan to come into focus, you need to supplement the "suits" around the planning table with voices from the larger culture and community. You need to spend some time with nonprofit leaders, with other funders who are active in various causes that might appeal to you. You need to find time for a little introspection too. Recall where you come from, think about who you are and what you have achieved, ask what more you might yet do. What is unfinished? What higher work calls to you? What lives in you from your family, your religious and cultural life, from your community, your traditions that you can live out and pass on? (I recall the image of a man moving through a crowd sheltering a candle in his hands.)

Then as these memories, thoughts, aspirations, dreams, scraps of poetry, parables, stings of conscience, begin to move in your mind, and begin to move your heart, and begin to flow into a vision, then comes Leadership. Having done your draft plan to see what resources you can free up, having talked to people in your issue areas, and visited nonprofits active in that area, having meditated and awoken at night with fears and hopes, and having talked with loved ones, there comes the moment when you convene your team to communicate the vision and lock the plans down for now.

Do your Plans Paint your Accurate Moral Portrait?

In closing, let me ask you:  If I were to review your estate and financial plan, would I be able to see your vision of a life work and an inspired legacy? Would I see you as you are? Does your plan embody what is best in you? Or it is just a prudent plan, one that would fit anyone else with your net worth, income and expenses? Is your plan generic and prudent or unique and inspired?

As a professional who sees lots of plans and who sometimes has a chance to talk with the clients of highly regarded advisors, I have the overwhelming sense that clients are far better people, most often, than you would ever know from reading their plans - even though the plans are state of the tax and financial planning art. The plans, very often, are all about self, family, money, tax. Yet the families are about life, love, values, community, hope, and impact. Somewhere we as a client/advisor team are failing. We are not failing the cunning, selfish client who lives in all of us. But we are failing the idealist buried inside.

Who will lead? From inside the advisor silo, I am waving my arms at you from afar: Please do not think your advisors have this all down cold, that they will counsel you, and prod you, on vision, values, aspiration, or life impact. Not their job, they will tell you that. "Not my job." (The only person whose job it ever was went by the title of "Fool." Only a Fool would prod a wealthy and powerful person to mediate on eternity before writing an estate plan.)

Since only a Fool would help you when it comes to uplifting your vision, or prodding your weaknesses, and since Fools are in short supply, you must uplift your own vision. You as a person, parent, citizen, human soul must set the higher vision and convene the team around it. It is our obligation, each of us, to plan our wealth and life in a spirit that one might almost call "prayerful," unless you prefer laughter of the angels.

I hope from time to time this blog will stimulate you not only to optimize tools and tactics, but to throw your life energy and your financial resources towards goals that reflect what is best in you. May your best efforts prosper!


Social Capital Markets Closed by Order of the Northern Command: Wirearchy and Hierarchy

Stuart Henshall on Jon Husband's presentation at KMWorld.  Jon, along with others like Tracy Gary and Catherine Austin Fitts, works at a deeper level, not from what will advance his career, or garner praise, or make a buck, but from the demands of his own disciplinary logic and the demands of the future.  All three of these intransigent figures meet resistance from the entrenched present. Jon's expertise is in human resources for large organizations. He worked with Hay. Now he is intuiting a world that runs on networks, swarms, coalitions, on love and love of the work as much as on money, whether inside or outside the corporate firewall. His  vision, no less than Tracy's inspired, grassroots progressivism, or Catherine's Solaris are a fundamental critique of today's corrupted and malignant Wall Street (not Main Street) capitalism. He like they are limning radical (from "radix," or root) alternatives to the world we know today. The three envision a decentralized, less hierarchical future, flattened but not as Thomas Friedman thinks of it.

Today we have a world controlled from the top down and the center out, by corporate power in cahoots with what remains of government, and enmeshed in philanthropy to support rather than challenge vested interests.  Tomorrow we will have progressive social change with social justice paramount (Tracy). We will have our money flowing from and to local Main Street businesses, including ranches, farms, and ordinary Rotary Club firms, that support the quality of life in towns, villages, and cities (Fitts).  And, we will have citizen/employees creating ever changing networks (online and off)  of purpose for commerce, politics, civic friendship, and profit.  Against that stands what? Well, most of you see in the newspapers, most of the figures you see on tv, and most of the mind-corrupting material supplied to us via think tanks, pundits, marketing, and the mainstream media by those currently in power.

Change starts on the margins, in the Dumpsters, not inside Wealth Bondage, nor outside, but where it abuts the public square, where as with garbage, ownership is not what it was, and pariahs congregate to promote the public good. Meanwhile,  let us  respect those set above us.  I am grateful to have a job at all, and to be allowed to blog, subject to editorial style guidelines, and approval by the higher ups.  I speak subject to correction.  Unlike The Happy Tutor, I am not looking for any trouble.  Until the new day dawns, I need to make a living.  My morals tutoring business may be a sham, but I will live in comfort until everything falls apart.  I will leave it to Jon, Tracy, and Catherine to buck the system.  I suggest you do the same.   


Tracy Gary's Podcast "On Inspired Philanthropy"

Tracy Unleashing greater generosity in the legacy planning process.....

Executive Summary

In this 12 minute podcast social entrepreneur, Amy Looper, interviews Tracy Gary, author of Inspired Philanthropy: Creating A Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy.  The purpose of the book and of the podcast is to bring donors, advisors, and nonprofits together in common purpose.  Having listened to this podcast, we hope you will make use of the free resources available on the Inspired Philanthropy website.

Outline of the Podcast

  • Audiences: In the first 3.5 minutes Tracy defines the three audiences of the book: donors, advisors, and nonprofits, and how she hopes to get us to come together not in adjacent silos, but as collaborators for the good of donors, their loved ones, nonprofits and society.
  • Driving Purpose: In the next 2.5 minutes Tracy explains why she substantially rewrote her prior edition of Inspired Philanthropy. The earlier edition showed how to create a giving plan. The new edition adds legacy planning. Why? Tracy herself and her cohort of donors are aging.  That and the death of Tracy's mother, led her to think about how a giving plan can be extended beyond our lives into a legacy plan. That in turn led Tracy to consider the need for donors to work well with their tax, legal and financial advisors whose professional skills are needed to create a  legacy plan that is both prudent and inspired. (A prudent plan takes care of the donor and her loved ones, come what may. An inspired plan does all that but also makes a positive contribution to the community.)
  • Benefits:  In the final 6 minutes, Tracy directly addresses each of her three audiences: nonprofits, advisors, and donors,  showing each group how they can use the book to advance their goals. Most importantly, she helps us see how much we need each other, and how by dancing together not only as donors, advisors and nonprofits, but also as citizens, we can advance our own goals while doing more for the world.

Getting into Action

I was the producer of the podcast. The woman interviewing Tracy is Amy Looper. She and I worked together several years ago around her vision of a social venture, a vision that became MindOH, an organization that provides character education to at-risk high school students.  Amy appears in Tracy's book, Inspired Philanthropy. For the book I contributed legacy planning resources for donors and advisors available for download under Resources: Appendix A and B. These tools are proving quite helpful to donors and advisors. The tools have also been successfully used by nonprofits, as part of convenings that Tracy has taught, to get the nonprofit's key donors and advisors together on the same page.

This podcast and the resources on the Inspired Philanthropy website are a labor of love and a gift.  As we three have worked together, across our disciplinary silos, we hope you and your team will do the same. The world is in a difficult time. We are all called to do what we can.

Download audiofile.mp3


Inspired Philanthropy: Creating a Giving Plan and Leaving a Legacy

Bottombook The third, much expanded, edition of Tracy Gary's book, Inspired Philanthropy, has just been published.  Included is a chapter on creating a legacy plan on which she and I collaborated.  To accompany the book Tracy has provided a new website, http://www.inspiredphilanthropy.com. The site provides in downloadable form  the exercises and  worksheets that are the backbone of the book. These exercises and worksheets have been proven in literally thousands of classes Tracy has taught to donors. Most of the worksheets were written in airport lounges, between gigs, by a woman who has dedicated her life to this work for nearly three decades.   The exercises and worksheets help givers, whether wealthy or of ordinary means, to sort out their vision, their passion, their current giving, their strategic giving goals, and their future giving plans.  Also included for download (under the Appendices in Resources) are tools for donors and advisors to bring them together in common purpose.  These materials assist the donor in articulating her legacy vision to advisors in terms advisors can understand and that advisors can implement within a prudent and  inspired estate plan or financial plan. So, if you are a donor, an advisor to donors, or a nonprofit working with donors, you now have a first-rate free resource online. Tracy is giving this stuff away in faith, hope and charity. She may sell some books too, but the motive is to uplift the field. 

To promote the  book, and more importantly to promote inspired giving, The Harnisch Foundation is funding what is called, The Donor Diva Challenge.  If you buy a copy of the book by November 6 a free copy will be donated to the nonprofit of your choice. More than 10,000 books will be given away with your participation. 

Finally, a Donor Diva blog is planned. Getting Tracy and her donor friends into the conversation online will be a major plus for all of us philanthropy bloggers.