Viken Mikaelian

Tell Your Heart Surgeon to Go Away

Viken Mikaelian  

Money has a way of showing up when people see the need for it.

In my entire career in the planned giving business, I have consistently heard, “…but my budget has been cut back this year.” It’s the same story every year, no matter what the economy’s doing.

It’s sad, because when planned giving budgets are cut, the long-term growth of the organization suffers. The key word here is “long-term.” You get it, but most do not. Or they get it on an intellectual level but don’t internalize it.

But it is also your fault. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

On Productivity, Planned Giving and Your Career

Viken Mikaelian  

Two informal surveys of ours indicate that those who dabble even a little bit in planned giving do significantly better in their careers than those who do not. Actually, forget about our surveys and think about this logically. Planned giving is a proactive field. It involves foresight and thoughtful long-term planning for the future. This is different from annual giving which is more about addressing urgency. And, as we know, in almost any field, those in charge of long-term planning are compensated better than those serving immediate needs.

Here are some tips on getting your career energized. Read over them, then put them into action straight away. Continue reading

Viken Mikaelian

Workus Interruptus

Viken Mikaelian  

A personal rant. Not for the faint of heart or politically correct.

Endless texts, tweets, emails, calls, chats, IMs, Facebook updates… What do all these things have in common? They’re all uncontrolled by you and letting others control your time. All buzzing and vibrating and stealing your attention from what you should be doing. Not to mention co-workers at your door. “Got a minute?” “What are you doing for lunch?” “You did hear about Nancy and Bob…?”

This issue is about peak productivity. So turn off your smartphone, ignore your email, and dive in. There’s good stuff in here.

A variety of hand-drawn doodled text of time management concepts.

Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Tom Dieters

Get Rid of Your CGA Program!


Says the panicked board member… until you show him a better way to lower risk. 

Has this ever happened to you? A board member or finance officer who is unfamiliar with gift annuities sees a big liability on the books and panics. “Why are we doing this?” they ask.

Their concern is understandable. A charity normally pays a donor around 40-60 percent of the original gift in interest. For someone who isn’t familiar with gift annuities, that seems like a very bad way to raise money.

Unfortunately, the knee jerk reaction is all to often to pull the plug. Stop issuing CGAs and let the existing pool run its course. Continue reading

Chelsea Dinsmore

How to Be Massively Productive

Chelsea Dinsmore  

The Single Most Important Thing to do to Get More Stuff Done! 

What is the single biggest excuse people use to not do things they say they want to do?

Wait for it… (No pun intended.)

“I don’t have time.”

We’re about to blow that excuse away. But first, a question: Continue reading

Kill Your Print Marketing Campaign

Tom Roan  

These 10 common blunders are sure to do the trick.

Direct mail is king. But kings can be dethroned. Well-intentioned organizations do it all the time. Avoid these common mistakes to ensure your direct mail campaign is as kingly as it should be. Continue reading

IRA Qualified Charitable Distributions

Greg Pierce  

Understand the benefits and increase your value to donors. 

First let’s clarify any confusion in nomenclature. Sometimes the IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution is referred to as an IRA Rollover gift. This is a sloppy and misleading term, because an IRA Rollover is another distinct process. Better to use the term IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD).  Continue reading