NCPG Board members and volunteers accomplished quite a lot in its early years, with support from a part-time staff. Here are a few highlights, ending around the year 2000 in order to keep this history to a manageable length.
In 1987, leaders of NCPG identified 14 planned giving councils with 1,100 members. By 1991 there were 47 councils affiliated with NCPG, with 4,100 members. In the summer of 1992 there were 58 councils with 4,600 members. In July 2019 there were 8,000 people affiliated with gift planning councils.
Professional networking was facilitated by publication of the NCPG Directory of Council Members (1989 ff). The NCPG Gift Planner Profile (1992 ff) was based on a survey of 600 practitioners, providing data on compensation, experience, gender, and other career aspects.
NCPG has held major conferences every year since its founding. Many leaders in the broad field of gift planning met one another at the first public conferences in Indianapolis in 1988 and 1989 (a small, invitation-only conference was held at the Lilly Endowment headquarters in 1987).
For years, gift planners debated whether and how to create a national program for professional training and certification. At the 1989 conference there was a strongly negative reaction against an ambitious proposal to fund NCPG through offering costly national courses leading to professional marks. As an alternative, NCPG published a study guide titled Syllabus for Gift Planners (1992), “a detailed outline of professional knowledge and skills” in five major areas: philosophy and practice, donor relations, understanding and designing charitable gifts, management, and financial and estate planning.
The NCPG Bibliography and Resource Guide (1989 ff) series of publications highlighted current planned giving books, periodicals, audiovisual works, software, and other professional associations. An NCPG Speakers Bureau Directory (1991) provided councils with a useful roster of qualified presenters.
Ethical controversies over finders fees, commission-based fund raising, and the primacy of charitable motivation led members of the CANARAS gift planning council to issue the CANARAS Convention (1989) and CANARAS Code (1990). NCPG President Frank Minton led a drafting process resulting in the Model Standards of Practice for the Charitable Gift Planner (1991), which were based on these earlier codes. The Model Standards were approved by a new Assembly of Delegates representing planned giving councils affiliated with NCPG.
Survey reports on pooled income funds (1990) and charitable remainder trusts (1992) provided timely data on those gifts. NCPG conducted its first donor survey of 150,000 households in 1992, gathering data on the use of bequests, life income gifts, and noncash gifts. The NCPG report on Planned Giving in the United States 2000: A Survey of Donors (2000) focused on the use of three types of gifts: bequests, gift annuities, and charitable remainder trusts.
Much more could be written about the NCPG newsletters, Journal of Gift Planning, government relations, work with allied professionals, the Leave a Legacy© program, and many other important activities in subsequent years.