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Embracing the Rewarding Challenge:

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

The Unsung Triumphs of a Planned Giving Career

By Kimberly Jetton, MNM, CFRE

President, Partner, and Founder








Embarking on a career in planned giving can evoke feelings of trepidation—or at least that was very much the case for me. I was concerned about wading into the pool of death and taxes, not to mention the anticipation of talking with donors about the intricacies of estate planning, legal jargon, and the prospect of discussing matters of mortality. Yet, I have discovered that beneath this initial apprehension lies one of the most rewarding journeys within the realm of fundraising.


Navigating Complexity Yields Expertise


The multifaceted nature of planned giving might intimidate newcomers, but this complexity is a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be unlocked. As a planned giving professional, you delve into a realm of tax codes, trusts, and intricate financial planning. This breadth of knowledge positions you as a beacon of guidance, not just for donors seeking to maximize their philanthropic impact, but for your organization as well. Though it takes time to become familiar with the generalities and even more time to become comfortable in this space of legal details, the vast majority of giving vehicles can be learned within a short time.


Fostering Profound Relationships


The heart of planned giving beats within the relationships you cultivate. Yes, discussing

matters like wills and legacies can be uncomfortable, but it's within these candid conversations that you connect with donors on a profoundly personal level. You become part of their journeys, assisting them in leaving legacies aligned with their values. These relationships don't end with transactions. Instead, they evolve into a lasting connection that enriches both your career and the lives you touch. You may also be surprised about how many of your donors welcome and enjoy these types of conversations.


Crafting Enduring Legacies


The fear of discussing mortality often overshadows the immense beauty of planned giving: the opportunity to craft enduring legacies. As a planned giving professional, you guide donors in transforming their wealth into a force for good. These gifts are not mere financial transactions; they are living testaments to the compassion and commitments of your donors to the causes that matter most to them. Your role is to help donors immortalize their values, leaving marks that transcends time.


Unveiling Financial Freedom for Donors and Organizations


Planned giving empowers donors to create philanthropic solutions that align with their financial goals. As a practitioner, you facilitate these win-win scenarios. You liberate donors from concerns about their financial security while ensuring nonprofits receive sustained support. This dynamic enables organizations to envision bold projects, knowing they have a reliable stream of resources. In short, you are helping donors solve issues they have with their assets while helping them support the organizations they love. It’s an exciting proposition!


In conclusion, while planned giving may appear as a challenging career choice, the rewards far outweigh the initial fears. Your journey as a planned giving professional is one of continuous learning, forging deep connections, crafting legacies, and enabling financial freedom. As you embrace the intricacies, you discover that planned giving isn't just a career—it's a privilege that allows you to impact lives and shape a better future.




Kimberly is a national award-winning leader in fund development and gift planning. She has a proven ability to develop outstanding relationships with donors, committees, board members, and volunteers. Kimberly excels in developing and executing strategic plans that have exceeded goals every year at each agency on which she has served. As President of Pleiades Nonprofit Advisors, she helps clients navigate and excel in gift planning and other fundraising initiatives. For more about Kimberly, please visit our About page.

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