Testimonials

Praise for Gift Planning Development

The Essentials program gave our organization the confidence to move forward with implementing a successful gift planning program. The user-friendly, step-by-step approach allowed us to implement a strong, Phase I gift planning program in less than a year. Brian’s knowledge and expertise not only in gift planning, but also in program implementation were clearly evident in his organized training process. Brian’s commitment to helping our organization went far beyond the confines of what one would expect from a consultant. We were so incredibly pleased with Brian’s work that once we completed Essentials, we committed to working with him on an ongoing basis.

Lenora D’Apice

Executive Director of Advancement, Presbyterian Homes & Services, New Hartford, NY

I would highly recommend engaging Brian Sagrestano to assist with the development of a Gift Planning Program. I enrolled in Brian’s Gift Planning Essentials program and have been very pleased with the outcome for my organization. Gift planning was not a part of our Advancement efforts and today we have a well-established program with a Legacy Society of 65 members. The Essentials program is a very comprehensive approach to donor-center gift planning, providing all the necessary knowledge and tools to promote and sustain this type of giving. Not only did I enjoy and greatly benefit from working with Brian, our Board of Directors and Senior Leadership were very pleased with our association.

Ellen M. Donohoe

Vice President for Advancement, Melmark, Inc., Berwyn, PA

Brian’s knowledge of all things planned giving – from program development to structuring gifts to donor-centric marketing and engagement – is second to none. He brings the experience and pragmatism of a seasoned fundraiser who’s been in the trenches, but also the broader perspective of what’s working and not working across the ever-changing field of gift planning.

Tom Yates

Director of Planned Giving, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Foundation, Philadelphia, PA

Thank you for the continued energy and re-committed to fundraising career. Joe your session this week was so on target for me a 20 year veteran. It was your message to commit to the process and activity. Every gift starts with an email and/or phone call from a MGO asking for the visit. I really enjoy my position at Towson University and the College of Business, and your training was just the renewed vigor that I needed to continue to pick up the phone and bring in the alumni and corporation to help make Towson U Great.

M. Frank Sneeringer

Director of Major Gifts at College of Business and Economics, Towson University, Towson, MD

We are incredibly grateful for the year we spent working with Joe on the school’s planned giving program. He consistently provided guidance, direction, inspiration and accountability for our team and as a result we were able to launch a multi-pronged PG effort and build the scaffolding to support the program moving forward. Joe’s style, friendship and professionalism were a perfect fit with our organization and we are a better development organization because of the time we spent with Joe.

Lisa Raleigh

Director of Advancement, P'18 '19 , Colorado Rocky Mountain School, Carbondale, CO

We have worked with Brian for two years and during that time have connected with donors in new and meaningful ways. Giving donors myriad options on how best to construct their charitable gifts has been an extraordinarily positive experience for both donors and The Community Foundation. Brian is a wealth of knowledge in all areas of philanthropy and working with him has been a pleasure.

Peggy O'Shea

(Former) President & CEO, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Utica, NY

Working with Gift Planning Development has allowed us to focus on our day-to-day work knowing we have incredible technical support on all issues related to fundraising and philanthropy. Brian is great and an important part of our team!

Michael Kateman

Executive Director of Development, Alumni and Public Relations, Columbia College, Columbia, MO

In the first nine months of working with Joe, I was able to secure 12 planned gifts for the National Hemophilia Foundation. He gave me the tools to speak comfortably with donors, which made them feel comfortable, too. He is quite knowledgeable and someone I consider to be a valued colleague.

Mary Ann Ludwig

VP of Development, National Hemophilia Foundation

Nazareth College has more than quadrupled the number of documented planned gifts from alums, trustees and community members. A substantial portion of this increase can be attributed to the training done with our team by Brian Sagrestano. Through encouraging staff and volunteers to ask probing and insightful questions while keeping the intent of the donor utmost in mind, our planned giving program has flourished.

Kelly E. Gagan

Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Nazareth College, Rochester, NY

Brian’s webinar took the difficult new law and made it understandable and useable. I gained insight into how to use what I learned right away, and I appreciated the insights into what new laws might be just around the corner. Your humor, your quick surveys and responsiveness to questions made it fun and interesting while also presenting timely, accurate and actionable information on this complex subject.

Wayne Olson

Director of Gift Planning, The University of the South, Sewanee, TN

Brian Sagrestano taught over 80 members of the Miami Jewish community about the importance of stewardship and recognition as it relates to institutionalizing legacy giving. His presentation was clear and understandable, filled with relevant content and valuable, easy to use materials. Brian provided our community partners in the Create a Jewish Legacy program with many resources, tools and procedures on how to effectively and efficiently create a donor recognition program. On our program evaluation forms, one Development Director from a local synagogue wrote “Best speaker yet!” Brian is a pleasure to work with.

Ilana Saposnik

Create a Jewish Legacy Coordinator, The Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, Miami, FL

We had been struggling for a number of years to move our planned giving program forward. We made the decision to get some outside help and chose to work with Joe Tumolo and Brian Sagrestano. Their team approach was perfect for us. Joe provided us with outstanding training. One of his first messages to us was that planned giving skills and expertise comes in two forms, what he and Brian call “above the line and below the line” skills. “Above the line” is all relationship building work with the prospect. This was a perfect first message for us. We knew how to build relationships. Knowing this instantly demystified the process and empowered us to use and refine the skills we had to do our planned giving work. For a small shop like ours, most of the “below the line” work will be done through simple annuities or bequests. Joe taught us what we needed to know to move forward with each of these. Joe’s work was also key to our ability to create structure, discipline and accountability to our process, without which we would have continued to struggle to move forward. We felt very fortunate to have worked with Joe and Brian.

Marilyn Earley

Director of Advancement, Worcester Academy

We contracted with Joe this Summer. His style is engaging and he is very knowledgeable. The LHUF team is young, but eager, and his sessions are well structured and feed their passion to learn. But the best demonstration of success is return on investment, and since we began working with Joe we reinvigorated our Legacy Society, developed measurable goals for planned giving solicitations and increased our monthly activity. I would definitely recommend Joe’s services to others.

Troy M. Miller

Executive Director, Lock Haven University Foundation

What has really stuck me from my training with Joe is his simple but smart methods to prioritize donor engagement in a job crowded with various fundraising duties that don’t involve donors. Joe offers a clear, practical, and effective strategy for frontline fundraisers to stay focused and productive, turning donor outreach into tangible fundraising results.

Tom Yates

Director of Planned Giving, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Working with Joe has been a tremendous growth opportunity for Ravenscroft, our planned giving program and for me professionally. Joe does not over-complicate planned giving and keeps your focus just where it needs to be – on building powerful and meaningful donor relationships. He is a valuable resource and adviser for any fundraiser.

Anna White Hosea

Director of Development, Ravenscroft School

I believe I speak for the entire team when I say that yesterday was time incredibly spent. We greatly appreciated your insights and company. We will begin implementing strategies immediately, and I look forward to reaching out soon to brag about our success.

Kevin L. Ditzler

Major Gifts Officer, WITF/Public Media Center

I enjoyed your presentation. You are correct that Planned Giving is something I want to do, but gets pushed aside by other pressing needs. Not any more. I am carving out time in October to plan our approach using your tips. Thank you for your inspiring presentation. You really stated it simply.

Kathleen E. V. Gallagher

Director of Institutional Advancement, Country Day School of the Sacred Heart

Brian’s network and knowledge of professionals in the field were instrumental in our successful search for a director of gift planning. The search was tailored to fit our specific needs and desired characteristics in a new colleague.

Robert J. Kallin

Vice President of Development, Alumni and Parent Relations, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, PA (for a search at Geisinger Health)

Thanks for your informative and very practical presentation. We have a monthly “sales meeting” with our Donor Engagement team and that happened to be this a.m. I shared a number of the things you mentioned yesterday. Thanks for inspiring and encouraging our group and me personally!

Keith D. Meyering

Director of Legacy Planning, Bethany Christian Services, Inc.

I highly recommend Joe. He is fast-paced, funny, and overflowing with good practical ideas to help fundraising professionals. Joe asks us to take a look at our behavior and break it down to discover whether we are doing the things that will produce gifts.

Debra Poole

Planned Giving Director, East Tennessee Children's Hospital

Joe presented with clear, honest language and stories. His key messages re-energized the process of cold calls for me. Whether new to fundraising or a seasoned professional, you’ll leave his workshop with creative materials and proven, tangible techniques.

Laura Lanier

Louisiana State University

Save the best till last. How many times have I said that, heard that, and done that. Yesterday was the culmination of some interesting sessions at the conference and your class was, to me, the most beneficial. I truly appreciate your approach to the presentation.

John Kollaer

Foundation Director, Mennonite Village

Thank you again for providing our Coalition Membership such incredibly well done presentations, I’ve received nothing but positive responses.

Deirdre "Dee" Baker, MS, CFRE

Fund Development Director, PA Coalition against Domestic Violence

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