NACGP Podcast with Michael Kenyon

Conversation with Michael Kenyon about CGP

Shannon Duval

Eddie Thompson:  Thank you for joining us for this podcast.  We have a special guest with us!  Michael Kenyon is President and CEO of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (NACGP).  He’s done a great job leading the organization.  We want to take some time with him today and find out what’s new with NACGP and what he does day to day.  So, Michael, the floor is yours.  Thanks for joining us! 

Michael Kenyon:  Well, thank you Eddie.  I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you as well as your listeners.  So, with what we call CGP, we don’t want to get tongue-tied with NACGP, so we just go CGP – we’re not that good with all the acronyms! 

Our organization just came off our annual conference in October (2019), which always is an energizing time for us.  We had a great conference there in New Orleans.  One of the big items that came out of that was a project that we’ve been working on for a long time.  It’s been titled under the metrics for a few years now and that has evolved into the development of some national standards for gift planning success.  Our board formally approved those at that meeting in October and we’re going to be rolling those out probably over the next several weeks.  Those standards are not anything earth-shattering.  They’re universal principles of what successful programs all need to have.  But, what it does for us is it allows CGP to start to really articulate all of our education and programming based on those standards – on how we help programs and individuals be successful.

Eddie:  That’s great!  I’m one of those people who are embarrassed, I’m not involved as much as I should be.  (Eddie has since been elected to join their national board for 2021-2023). But I tell you what, every time I’ve been in meetings with you or your team, I’ve been impressed.  The integrity, the wisdom.  I would encourage everyone, including our listeners, who are not members of this really valuable organization to consider it.  Especially major gift officers!  Michael, you might take a minute to talk about this.  Because it’s really difficult to be a successful major gift officer without having some understanding of gift planning.  What are your thoughts on that?

Michael:  Well, we know there’s this ongoing trend whether it’s blended gifts or blended responsibilities with major gift officers.  We know that more and more individuals in the broader fundraising field are going to need to be having those conversations about gift planning whether that’s deferred or non-cash assets.  We talked about Russell James’s research saying the successful organizations are those organizations that are accepting non-cash assets as gifts.  So when we look at that, we know that major gift officers are going to really have to be knowledgeable. To quote Russell again, those gifts are a little more complex.  They require some more education.  And of course, that’s where this is really the heart of what we do as an organization is to provide that education.

Eddie:  You all do a great job!  Especially really early on when you’re just getting started.  The courses you all offer at these conferences.  The classes are really powerful!  And you have some of the best people in the country speaking on it.  I compliment you on what you all do, especially the annual conference – it’s really strong!

Michael: Thanks, Eddie.

Eddie:  Do you see any major changes coming, in organization themselves?  Any major changes taking place?

Michael:  Part of that is tied to those standards.  But we’re really working on looking at adopting a new education platform and rolling out some new programs in 2020 that are going to be more comprehensive.  Then also provide more wraparound learning experiences.  All though we do have a webinar series that keeps going and you can always pull those off, we also want to try and create some more wraparound experiences where people can connect with each other and start to have some flow back and forth with information to really provide a better context for these kinds of classes – that help introduce different types of gifts to major gift officers that are tuning in.

Eddie:  What resources do you have available in addition to the conferences and webinars?

Michael:  On the website we have probably about 500 different papers on all types of different topics that are in our members side of our database.  We also have a new area that we opened up this year in our CGP Link that we call Essential Assets.  Currently we have three different categories of non-cash assets.  We have resources and papers and information on that including real estate, closely held business interests, art and collectibles.  Then, within that membership side, we have our gift PL, which is our message board.  It has people like you and others that contribute and help to answer questions that some people, regardless of where they’re at in their career, whether it’s a simple question about an IRA distribution to a complex trust ethical question that come up – it’s really a valuable service.

Eddie:  You know, Michael, I really appreciate what you all have done.  I really encourage our listeners to be involved and to go to the website.  The website is just packed with information!

What else would you want to tell our listening audience today? 

Michael:  We have a new RIFT project, which is an IRA charitable distribution resource center.  I want to credit Johni Hays, one of your senior VPs, who spearheaded this and put this together.  She put a tremendous amount of work into it.  So, I’m not really taking credit for it. We’re just really proud that we have that Resource Center on the public side of our website. 

So, if you have any questions or need information as a person who’s working with one of those beneficiary IRA distributions, you can get a tremendous amount of help on that website.  It’s open to the public for any charity to use across the country.  It’s available under the Advocate tab and you will be able to find that information there.  We’re just really proud and I wanted to do a little shout out to Johni for that!

Eddie:  Michael, I want to thank you for your leadership. You’ve done an excellent job.  We’re fortunate to have you as an association leading us.  You’ve developed a really good team who are aggressive and just replete with integrity.  And, to me, that is what’s most important.

Michael:  Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you today, Eddie.

Eddie:  We’ve enjoyed listening to Michael, a great professional.  I really encourage you to get on the website.  But I encourage you even more to be involved and to get engaged with this great organization.  Especially major gift officers and those who are annual gift officers anticipating moving along in your career!  This is a great investment of your time and a tremendous resource available.