"Worth its Weight in Gold"

Posted by kturner on Jul 29, 2021 01:28:06 PM

We sat down with new member and first-time CGP Conference registrant Laura Bianco-Hanna, MBA, CFRE, the Regional Director Personal Philanthropy Program for (DAV) Disabled American Veterans, to talk about her excitement for the upcoming national conference in Orlando and online.

How did your career in charitable gift planning begin?
I’ve been in fundraising for 17-18 years, and I’ve done everything from working at a hospital foundation to a university foundation and was an executive director for a small nonprofit that had an oncology camp. In my current role with DAV, I am a regional director, so I work remotely. I live in Montana, but I cover 15 states from Oregon, Washington, Colorado, all the way over to Minnesota and Iowa. I just love connecting with people which is why I very much enjoy working in the major gifts and planned gift arena - I really love connecting the dots. I love helping people think about how they can make a positive difference in others’ lives and what their legacy is both individually and for their families.

Laura Bianco-HannaWhat drew you to the CGP Conference?
There are six regional directors, such as myself, that have the entire country, but only one dedicated planned giving professional in our organization. [With the CGP membership] I can broaden my access to the information that I really feel like I need to become more of an expert in all things related to planned giving, especially at this point in my career, and attending the conference allows me to connect with and learn from other planned giving professionals.

CGP Conference just seemed like a perfect way to blend being a good steward of the money that DAV has for memberships and conferences, and get a good deal on something that would make me more valuable to our organization and ultimately to our donors and to our veterans. I thought it was great that the CGP membership and conference registration for newbies was put together.

What are you most looking forward to at the CGP Conference?
Quite honestly, the in-person, being able to put a name and a face with someone to be able to have kind of casual, passing conversations or introductions. As much as we have come to utilize and appreciate Zoom and Go2Meeting, there was nothing like being able to chat with someone ever so briefly or make a connection with them and share a business card. There's something about that in-person interaction that blows it out of the water.

I'm really looking forward to that genuine, no-technology-involved interaction with people without distractions. I feel like you are more present in person, and I want to be present. I want to absorb it all, and I think that is where genuine interactions are.

What are some short- and long-term benefits of attending CGP Conference?
When you come away from a conference, you come away with a lot of ideas and direction, and I think a boost of confidence. Even if you still don’t have all your questions answered, you have a better idea of where to go to find them… Long-term, it begins to provide a great network of peers that you can reach out to either to ask questions, best practices, concerns, and even just to celebrate one another. There are many people involved in fundraising and a lot of people are involved in annual giving and major giving, but it seems like a much smaller pool in planned giving.

A conference like this helps expand your horizons, and let's face it I live in Montana [laughs], I personally don't have a lot of those peers that I can connect with in Montana about planned giving. [CGP] helps you begin to build a network that I wouldn't have otherwise; I wouldn't have that jumping-off point to make connections without this conference.

What are you most looking forward to about your CGP membership this next year?
The access to information and education. For me, the educational resources that the membership provides are what I feel I need immediately and for the next year. That membership is worth its weight in gold for the resources and the education it provides.

Any last thoughts you’d like to share?
I'm excited. I really am. I'm excited to learn. I'm excited for the opportunity to grow professionally. I'm excited to build my professional network with a planned giving emphasis. I'm excited that the conference provides a return to normal. I feel like it is a great launching point for the next chapter [of my career].

Ready to join Laura and other peers at the largest gather of gift planning professionals? Register now or learn more about CGP Conference. 


Topics: CGP Conference, Membership