Kelley Rating (one asterisk = lowest, to five asterisks = highest):
- Ease of navigation, design of interface and learning curve ****
- Instructional documentation and help system ***
- Carries out the goal of the product as advertised *****
- Overall usefulness *****
Planned Giving Design Center (PGDC) provides a body of content, commentary and planning tools dedicated to charitable gift and estate planning. It’s designed to facilitate collaboration and community among the professional advisors and organizations engaged in planned giving and to assist planned giving organizations with marketing in today’s environment.
The PGDC platform has been substantially revised and updated. It provides current information on charitable gift and estate planning, offers access to articles, case studies and technical reports by selected professionals on planned giving issues and techniques and furnishes email news alerts about Internal Revenue Service rulings, court decisions and legislative updates. PGDC also provides regular tax updates; online, real time calculators for charitable giving techniques; and regular webinars and educational events.
The PGDC now features “groups” that offer you the ability to share your content, mission, programs, products and services with the entire PGDC network. You can publish whatever you want in your group, but content from your group appears in the PGDC main area only if permitted by the publisher. Your group can include ads and promotional content. It can be public or private by invitation only, and you can register the members of your organization to your group. A group on PGDC can provide some, or all, of the features of a website for substantially lower cost. Users of the PGDC website can join any number of groups. A convenient dropdown menu on the PGDC home page gives you immediate access to the groups you have joined. Additionally, PGDC provides a “National Group” that allows you to furnish content for your group members such as articles, blogs, news and descriptions of your events. You may also permit members to add content. A more advanced group, called the “Enterprise Group," which that emulates a complete website for your organization, is also available. The PGDC Groups are described on the page What Type of Group do you Need?
What’s It All About?
The home page (Dashboard) presents “National Publication Features” linking to recent articles and news of interest to charitable planners, older news, popular articles and IRS references, community features (community foundation and other charitable organization news), community news, links to new community groups on PGDC and discussions of charitable issues from elsewhere on the web. From the Dashboard you may join the PGDC community, without cost, for access to content, newsletters and forums; comment on and rate content; participate in forums; and include your profile in the searchable PGDC directory.
Navigation of the site is by links and a menu at the top. The Dashboard (from the community menu, the research menu and links at the bottom of the page) also makes available content by popularity and category and links to other resources (Think Tank forums, Research Center, Forms rates & tables, and locating a professional).
Under the community menu you may access the groups comprising the PGDC community. As a member you may join a group you’re interested in and that group will be added to the “My Groups” dropdown list to give you quick access to your groups. Community also links to the “Think Tank at View Forums,” which presents a list of all forums, including charitable giving techniques, foundations, legislative issues and an open discussion. Click on “Active topics” to view currently open topics that users have submitted. For members, “Locate a Professional” takes you to the members page. You may select members by profession, designation or keyword search
Searchable content pages reached through the research menu are:
· Forms Rates & Tables -- displays federal estate and gift tax rates and an archive of federal midterm rates.
· Government -- presents recent executive, judicial, legislative (Congressional correspondence and Congressional Research Service) and Treasury material including recent executive news and summaries and full text of recent decisions from the federal court system related to charitable issues. The “Treasury” area provides discussions of recent developments to the Internal Revenue Code, regulations and IRS pronouncements affecting charities and planned giving.
· Management -- covers news and IRS actions affecting management, ethics, governance, investing and practice of charitable organizations.
· Marketing -- addresses the demographics, ethics and practice of marketing charitable organizations.
· Planning -- links to news and articles addressing charitable planning techniques, assets, taxes and charitable giving personal values, with pages devoted to particular planning issues and techniques. Recent activity in the area appears on the right side of each specialized page.
Other menus lead you to news, articles, case studies and technical reports sorted by date. Each of these areas is keyword searchable and links to the group that originated it. You can send content by email to others or to social networking websites.
Under “Calculations,” the website presents basic online calculators for charitable gift annuities (CGA and deferred CGA for one or two lives), remainder annuity trusts and unitrusts (one life, two lives or term), lead annuity trusts and lead unitrusts (grantor and non-grantor), and life estate agreements (one life, two lives and term). The “Calculations” area begins at the “Calculation Center” page, where you may enter the names of the donor and beneficiaries, the date of transfer, the value of the property transferred and the payment frequency and carry this over to each type of calculation, if desired. A link from this page takes you to additional help on calculations. Clicking on the name of the trust category at the bottom left of a calculator page takes you to a brief explanation of the charitable giving technique you’re calculating and links to a detailed technical report on the technique. Data and calculations are preserved for you. Calculations are based on the Philanthrotec calculators.
What About Help and Support?
A video describing the content, functionality and use of the PGDC is available from the Dashboard. Individual areas and pages of the website have descriptive text available about their use and how to get the most from them.
Where Do You Get This Service?
PGDC provides a National Group at $3,000 per year or a complete organizational site for an Enterprise Group at $12,000 per year. Additional services are provided at hourly rates. See PGDC Group and Web Services Pricing. You may become a member of PGDC free of charge.
For further information, or to purchase a Group, contact Adam Strominger, director of business development, Office: 704-698-4057 Cell: 347-866-4152, Email:[email protected].
Planned Giving Design Center is a remarkable body of content and assembly of information and services for planned giving advisors and organizations. It provides a unique platform for planned giving professionals and organizations to provide commentary on and descriptions of their offerings and services. PGDC offers news, articles and technical discussions of high quality by a variety of experts in the planned giving field.
Other Websites Supporting Planned Giving Professionals and Organizations
CharitablePlanning.com provides articles and case studies on planned giving issues, a fully searchable library of cases, the IRC, regulations, IRS materials and legislation, planned giving calculations, personal file management, daily commentary on important events and access to a comprehensive handbook on the field of charitable planning
Planned Giving Resources includes resources for gift annuities, the basic calculators (under construction) and other information and services. Its planned gift services offer marketing technology support, gift annuity set-up with policies and procedures installed, strategic analysis of planned gift inquiries and cases and gift design and consultation with donor advisors.
Trusts & Estates magazine is pleased to present the monthly Technology Review by Donald H. Kelley—a respected connoisseur of the software and Internet resources wealth management advisors use to further their practices.
Kelley is a lawyer living in Highlands Ranch, Colo. and is of counsel to the law firm of Kelley, Scritsmier & Byrne, P.C. of North Platte, Neb. He is the co-author of the Intuitive Estate Planner Software, (Thomson – West 2004). He has served on the governing boards of the American Bar Association Real Property Probate and Trust Section and the American College of Tax Counsel. He is a past regent and past chair of the Committee on Technology in the Practice of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Trusts & Estates has asked Kelley to provide his unvarnished opinions on the tech resources available in the practice today. His columns are edited for readability only. Send feedback and suggestions for articles directly to him at [email protected]