How did you become involved with the ACGA?
I learned about ACGA when I joined Catholic Extension in 2008 as their CFO. Previously, I had been a management consultant in the for-profit world and never heard of a charitable gift annuity before then. Our organization had been issuing CGAs for over 100 years, setting its own payout rates, so the prior management team did not see any need for joining ACGA. Although I was the CFO, I took on the added responsibility of overseeing most aspects of our CGA program: the marketing strategy, annuity contract administration, regulatory reporting and investment of the reserves. The financial crisis going on at the time and the drop in the value of our reserves pushed us to re-think our overall CGA strategy and that was when we decided to join ACGA.
What do you find is the most valuable benefit of being an ACGA member in your role at your organization?
For me, the most valuable benefit is access to the best practices provided through regular surveys and conferences. A well-run CGA program can provide significant benefits to a charity, no matter the size. It is not hard to do, it just requires good processes backed up by clear communication between all of the interested parties. The survey results provide clear metrics we can use to assess and improve in our own program. The conferences provide me and my staff the opportunity to meet with other practitioners to share notes on how to improve. It was my constant questioning of what ACGA is doing to improve its support for charities that ultimately led to me join the board to help in that effort.
What about the ACGA has been most surprising to you as a board member?
The most surprising to me was the breadth of responsibilities the board members take on to help make ACGA what it is today, whether it entails recommending actuarially-sound rates, monitoring state regulations, identifying trends in the CGA market and so many others. It takes a dedicated team! There are so many knowledgeable, thoughtful, generous and dedicated members on our board that truly want to help charities develop and grow their CGA program. In the end, it is all about helping the donors and the charities both meet their goals.