Stuck in the Middle With You: Donor, Planner, Business Officer

Event Date: 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Event Location: 


Artful negotiation doesn’t apply only to the closing of a great gift. Sometimes negotiating a complex, blended or even standard gift with internal partners can be an equal challenge. This webinar explores the important aspects of the gift process from the lens of the person making the gift, the person closing the gift, and the partner on the inside tasked with counting the gift. How can effective communication and greater transparency promote a deeper understanding of the perspective each partner brings? What are the special considerations necessary to make certain there are no surprises along the way for the donor or the organization/institution? How do elements such as changes in the tax code and gift counting policies impact the planning and gift process? And how can the receipting, counting and recognition processes create a gift that feels like a remarkable win for all parties involved? Attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the key concerns important to each partner, and helpful tips to “bridge the GAAP” between the donor and the business office. Learn how a better understanding and artful negotiation can turn adversaries into advocates, better supporting your organizational/ institutional goals and creating a more rewarding work environment.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a deeper understanding the potential gift, receipting and recognition issues from the perspective of all three partners, from the person making the gift to the person counting it on the nonprofit’s side.
  • Develop a better understanding of “the language of giving” from the partner constituencies, including who should be at the table for various aspects of the gift discussions and considerations, and how to break the language barriers through good processes.
  • Acquire helpful tips for negotiating and securing a gift that all parties can celebrate as a win for your institution/organization.


Presented by:

Christopher Kelly

With more than 30 years of experience in trust, estate and philanthropic planning, Christopher L. Kelly is the Director of Major and Planned Giving with the Schoolcraft College Foundation. Christopher began his career in charitable planning on the financial side of "the table" serving as a philanthropic advisor with bank and brokerage house trust companies, such as PNC Institutional Asset Mangement, Comerica Charitable Services Group, and Merrill Lynch Trust Company Center for Philanthropy. He is a frequent guest speaker at conferences, most recently at the American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) national conference, as well as educational programs and donor seminars across the country. He is a member of the Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan, Past President of the Council Board, past Leave-A-Legacy Chair and chaired the Mentoring Program. He served on the National Board of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and was the Chair of the 2013 National Conference in Minneapolis. Christopher is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Detroit Chapter and before joining the gift planning community he was a professional Opera Singer debuting with the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit, Michigan and has performed with various opera companies and orchestras throughout the United States, in Europe, and on PBS and NPR. 

Melanie Norton

Melanie J. Norton is the founder and lead consultant for Norton Philanthropic Counsel (NPC), a full-service philanthropic consulting firm in Indianapolis, Indiana, dedicated to highly-customized and relationship-focused strategies that blend the art and science of philanthropy to promote client success. Prior to the launch of NPC, Melanie was most recently the Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement at DePauw University, where she led a team of 40 full-time professionals to a successful $320 million comprehensive campaign nearly two years in advance of the targeted campaign end. Melanie was previously a consultant with Johnson, Grossnickle and Associates, consulting on all phases of philanthropic work, and also spent eleven years in leadership roles in gift planning and major gifts for DePauw and Franklin College. Melanie’s first career was at Fifth Third Bank where she served as an AVP in the Retail and Trust Investment Advisors divisions for seven years. Melanie is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and holds an M.B.A. from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a B.A. in business from Franklin College. She was the 2016 national board chair for the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners and is also a past president and former board member for the Planned Giving Group of Indiana, as well as the Rotary Club of Indianapolis Sunrise. Melanie also served on the board of the Independent College Advancement Associates as well as several other volunteer and social service organizations.