ACGA Has International Influence
Christoph Sedlmeier flew for 8 hours and traveled over 4,000 miles just to attend the 31st ACGA Conference in Baltimore.
When asked why, Christoph responded, “My organization, Stiftung Liebenau, has been a sponsor of ACGA for three years. I am a deeply interested reader of the newsletter and other resources, which all encourage me to go further and develop a gift annuity product and program that will serve not only my organization, but the whole charitable community in Germany. Your publications concerning consumer rights and calculations are very valuable for my work. There is nothing similar in the German market.”
Christoph is the Chief Executive Administrator of the marketing arm responsible for PR and Fundraising for Stiftung Liebenau, an organization founded in 1870 and which today serves the disabled, elderly and terminally ill. As head of the department, he is the primary planned giving officer. Eight years ago, in response to clients requesting help to enable them to stay in their homes in exchange for a monthly annuity, Christoph started an Equity Release Model as a home-reversion plan for elderly people.
“I have been working for Stiftung Liebenau since 1995 after receiving my degrees from the University of Mannheim (Germany) and my MBA from York University (Toronto, Canada).” said Sedlmeier. “In Canada I got into contact with the world of nonprofit organizations and learned of their special needs, challenges and opportunities. Consequently I started my career in a nonprofit work and fundraising specifically.”
Having experience with the needs of bigger donors, Christoph was curious about finding a way to benefit donors during their lifetime in return for the house they were selling to his organzation. He did some research and discovered the charitable gift annuity common in the US.
“Today we are still the first and only charity offering such a gift annuity in Germany – and it works out fine for the clients as well as for the fundraising of Stiftung Liebenau.” said Sedlmeier. “We have received prizes for the innovative service and articles in every business and charity magazine in Germany.”
The Baltimore Conference was Christoph’s first and he says that he is already looking forward to attending the 32nd ACGA conference which will be held in St. Louis in 2016.
“My vision is to start and establish in Germany a system of support for charitable gift annuities similar to the one you have in the US.” Sedlmeier continued. “Therefore I need to know all about the experiences in the US, get into contact with interested German politicians (probably the most difficult part), and find advocates for the cause in both the Financial and charitable communities.”