How I Earn a Living | Sharpe Group
Posted February 25th, 2020

How I Earn a Living

In this ongoing blog, I write a fair amount about gift planning strategies. For example, the last two blog pieces were about planning strategies with PIFs. And, in real life, my only clients are charities.

But I earn my living pretty much not by crafting gift planning strategies, but by solving problems and answering questions. (The truth is, most gift planning boils down to nuts-and-bolts thinkng.)

What sorts of problems? All kinds. For example, how to make an important but relatively small change to an existing gift agreement. I advised the gift officer that the donor, who lives in NYC, could go to a lawyer and get a new gift agreement drafted (which the donor and the charity would both sign) but would pay the lawyer a large fee.

Instead, I recommended a simpler, essentially cost-free alternative: a side letter of agreement (modification), drafted and signed by the charity and sent to the donor for counter-signature.

No plaudits, please, but do recognize that problem solving requires (a) understanding the problem fully and (b) knowing the ways (if there are various ways) the problem can be solved.

What sorts of questions? All kinds. For example, whether a charity should accept an offer of $X (a modest sum) in exchange for giving up (relinquishing) its rather remote interest in a fairly large trust that had been created some years ago.

I get a lot of questions like this. They’re not questions of law. They’re policy questions. A lot of what I do is point out that some questions (a lot of questions, in fact) are policy questions. I typically get called about policy questions because someone in the charity’s food chain thinks, “This is a question for Jon Tidd.”

I generally don’t answer policy questions. With rare exceptions, it’s not my job to make policy. But I do offer analysis, and I often make recommendations as to policy in situations where policy is needed but missing.

For help with your organization’s problems and questions, contact your experienced and knowledgeable Sharpe Group Consultant.

By: Jon Tidd

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