Viken Mikaelian

What We Don’t Do

Viken Mikaelian  

Planned giving marketing firms should stick with what they know best.

Companies like to boast about what they do. Apparently, many firms also like to do far more than they should. More and more in the planned giving community I see marketing firms promising their clients the world.

  • Need planned giving marketing materials? Got that.
  • A website? Sure.
  • Consulting? Why not.
  • Legal advice? Of course. Would you like fries with that?

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Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE

Letting Donors Know About Annuity Fees

Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE  

Q: In your opinion, what is the best way to let donors know that there will be a fee on their annuities? When donors establish gift annuities, we work through the University of Texas Foundation and they charge 10% on the proceeds that will come to us after the donor dies. Is there a good way to communicate this on our website? What have you seen? Continue reading

Russell James

Why Getting In The Will Today Matters

Russell N. James III, J.D., Ph.D., CFP  

Long-term study shows multiple benefits for charities to get in the estate plan sooner.

We all know charitable estate giving is a big deal. In comparison, despite all of the media attention and conversation generated by corporate giving, annual estate giving has always been much larger. (In some years, charitable estate gifts are more than double all corporate gifts.) Of course, we all know that to receive any estate dollars, your organization must get in the will or other estate planning document. So, getting in the will eventually is clearly important. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

Message from CEO

Viken Mikaelian  

For those of you who are reading this and are clients of mine, I truly thank you for your business.

When I started in 1998, I did it with the goal to make planned giving accessible to your average prospect. At the time, planned giving was so bogged down with legalese and mind-numbing details that fundraisers were intimidated and donors befuddled.

We’ve come a long way since then, but there’s still a shocking number of fundraisers taking calculator courses and fretting about tax codes while ignoring the relationship part of their job. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

The 1% Challenge

Viken Mikaelian  

What would happen if you could improve one percent per day?

I wonder if anyone’s ever done a study to see when gyms are more crowded—in January (post new year’s resolution season) or in the spring (pre swimsuit season).
I’d put my money on January. My gym was packed after the holidays. But I can’t complain. Most of them were gone by Presidents’ Day. Moving on…

Wise words from the Cheshire Cat:
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Viken Mikaelian

You Are Changing Lives

Viken Mikaelian  

This is my incantation to myself before I speak:

“I now command my subconscious mind to direct me to speak from the heart with passion, power, persuasion, conviction, humor and strength to get my audience in the fundraising world, who I love and respect, to take action now and to change their lives and the lives of others forever.”

It’s my way of reminding myself that the fundraisers I’m speaking to deserve a message that will empower them in their honorable work. I know it’s easy for them to get caught up in the mundane and forget that they are in the business of changing lives.

My favorite story of all time about the real meaning of giving comes from a long-time friend and colleague Jack Miller. I shared his story last week when I spoke at the Planned Giving Council of Northeast Florida’s 2016 Symposium.

If you haven’t heard Jessica’s story, read it here and be inspired. Remember: you are changing lives.