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ACGA Board Member Interview: Kristen Jaarda

SchultzJaardaHow did you become involved with the ACGA?

I have spent my career with Crescendo, which is known for providing gift annuity rate calculation software, among other services.  I was asked to join as a member of ACGA’s State Regulations Committee in 2004, along with Edie Matulka of PG Calc, because there was a need for people with experience in this area.  I had the honor to serve on a committee headed by Frank Minton, whom I consider to be the “Godfather of Gift Annuities”, and I learned a tremendous amount from him and from Lindsay Lapole, former Board Chair, who became a mentor to me. After several years, I was asked to join the ACGA Board.  

You’ve been Chair of the Research Committee since 2015.  What are some of its accomplishments?

I followed Ron Brown, who left big shoes to fill having led the Committee through two prior gift annuity surveys.  We worked on the 2017 survey, the results of which were presented at the 2018 ACGA conference in Seattle.  The Committee was most fortunate to have Dr. Russell James help analyze the data and write a draft of the survey.  Some of the most important findings were characteristics of successful gift annuity programs, which tend to close more non-cash annuities, have larger dollar gift annuities, and have less administrative burden.

What is the new survey the Research Committee is working on?

We were intrigued by the results of the 2017 survey on what makes a successful gift annuity program, and wanted to dig further into this data.  We designed a follow up survey, again working with Russell James.  I am very excited because this is a joint survey with the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (NACGP).  This is the first time the two organizations have worked together on research, and because of this collaboration, we will reach more non-profits for a larger sampling of programs and a wider dissemination of our findings. We believe this survey will provide practical, concrete steps for charities who want to grow their gift annuity programs, and diversify their planned giving revenue.  It will be a real service for the charitable community.

When will the results of the Joint Survey be available?

The survey has been sent to all ACGA and NACGP member organizations and is open until June 15, after which we will tabulate the results and write the report.  It will be available at the ACGA’s April 2020 Conference in Atlanta.