Ep 88: Everything You Wanted to Know About Planned Giving (with Judi O’Kelley)

by Joan Garry

Planned giving can be a fantastic way for nonprofits to raise significant funds and can greatly benefit both the organization and the donor.


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Planned giving, which involves a major gift made either during the lifetime or at the death of the donor, can empower people to make larger charitable gifts than they could from regular income. This can be a fantastic way for nonprofits to raise significant funds and can greatly benefit both the organization and the donor.

Our guest, Judi O’Kelly, Chief Program Officer for the National LGBT Bar, teaches us the three things necessary for a donor to decide to participate in planned giving. She also tells us how to budget, who is involved, and what needs to happen for you to develop a strong planned giving initiative.

Learn who is most likely to engage in planned giving and who on your staff should be involved.

About Judi O’Kelley:

Judi O’Kelley is the Chief Program Officer for the National LGBT Bar. Judi joined the Bar’s team in 2017, and works on a broad range of programmatic initiatives including building the Bar’s law school affiliate program and supporting the work of the Family Law Institute (a joint initiative with NCLR). Judi brings nearly 25 years of legal and political experience working for equality within the LGBT community. While in law school, she worked against anti-gay ballot initiatives in Oregon; after graduating and entering private practice, she moved to Georgia and worked on behalf of local and national LGBT groups as a pro bono attorney, drafting and lobbying for successful non-discrimination protections and domestic partnership benefit programs for several Georgia municipalities, including Atlanta and Athens. In 2004, she served as President and Campaign Chair for the campaign for the Athens, Georgia area in opposition to Georgia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and continued grass-roots organizing and local political work after the campaign. Judi also was the lead plaintiff from 2004-2006 in the case of O’Kelley v. Perdue, in which Lambda Legal, the Georgia ACLU, and the law firm of Alston & Bird sought to strike down Georgia’s anti-marriage amendment. Judi then spent over eleven years on the staff and in senior management of Lambda Legal in roles ranging from Southern Regional Director, to Director of Life Planning & Planned Giving, to Deputy Director of Development, to Director of Leadership. Along the way she moved to Seattle, Washington, where she is involved with a number of local LGBT groups as the Bar’s West Coast outpost.

In this podcast

  • How the Executive Director and board chair must work together
  • How do you inspire skeptics?
  • Are you aware of organizational barriers and if so are you addressing them?
  • Must you have a planned giving officer? Can you afford one? What’s the ROI there?
  • Does the whole team need to be involved?
  • Does an organization have to be a certain size or age to be ready?
  • What questions might you ask your donors to help develop a lead base?
  • What giving levels are truly transformational for your organization and how do you reward and recognize at that level?