Collaboration Lab

How Major Gift Officers Become "Super Sleuth" Partners with Gift Planning Professionals to Uncover Bigger Gifts, Blended Gifts and Current Gifts

Craig Smith and R. Daniel (Dan) Shephard

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.


If major gift officer colleagues avoid gift planning conversations with capable donors because they think they must know all the ins and outs of gift planning, then this session is for them AND for you. Experience an interactive session that demonstrates how major gift officers become "super sleuths" eager to partner with their gift planning colleagues to uncover bigger gifts, blended gifts and current support gifts using appreciated assets.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will learn how major gift officers learn to intentionally and deftly lead donors through inquisitive gift conversations.
  2. Participants will learn how to guide donors through four key decisions that lead to significant gifts via purposeful two-part conversations.
  3. Participants will learn how using the four decisions approach leads to active involvement of gift planning colleagues in partnership with major gift officers, donors and advisors.


CFRE: Approved for 1.5 points

CAP: Approved for 1.5 hours CE Credit

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Craig Smith


Craig Smith is best known for his leadership, personal solicitation skills, and gift planning know-how. His work as Senior Consultant with John Brown Limited spans more than 25 years. He has directed client relations in higher education, the arts, healthcare, and cultural organizations nationwide, including the National Geographic Society, the University of Michigan, all of the campuses of the University of North Carolina and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He has helped to develop and manage campaigns from as small at $6 million to as large as $2.5 billion. He currently leads JBL’s work with Columbia University and with The Smithsonian Institution.

In addition to many years as a dedicated consultant with JBL, he has served in leadership roles at the University of Rochester Medical Center during comprehensive and boutique campaigns, and most recently, at Rochester Institute of Technology where he helped to launch a $700M campaign. Craig is dedicated to creatively bringing together philanthropists and worthy charitable causes to assure maximum tax advantage for donors while assisting development officers in reaching their important goals.


R. Daniel (Dan) Shephard


Dan Shephard is Principal of The Shephard Group, which provides training and consulting services focusing on the skillsets most valuable to frontline fundraisers. Dan knows from personal experience the value to the major gift planner of being equipped with both the competence and the confidence to engage a potential donor in a discussion that will result in a significant gift commitment.

Dan has served as Planned Giving Director for the Florida State University Foundation, Director of Development for the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, Director of Gift Planning for The Citadel Foundation, and Director of Development for the Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University. He is the author of Charitable Choices: How to Avoid Donor’s Remorse.