Marketing and Communications

Winning Hearts and Minds INSIDE Your Organization: Becoming Your Best Planned Giving Program Advocate

Cathy Sheffield and Patrick Schmitt

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18, 11:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.


Planned giving professionals tell us that one of the hardest things about their work is winning more resources and support internally for their program. Using a combination of stories and statistics, we will share successful solutions that will assist in the formulation of an effective internal communication strategy to secure greater resources in support of planned giving programs. Additionally, attendees will develop a toolbox of talking points and compelling messages to win the hearts and minds of bosses, boards, and other key stakeholders and turn them into planned giving champions.

Learning Objectives

  1. Attendees will be to articulate the statistical importance of planned giving in a fully comprehensive fundraising program.
  2. Attendees will be to formulate an effective internal communication strategy to secure greater resources and internal support for their planned giving programs.
  3. Attendees will develop a toolbox of talking points to win the hearts and minds of their boss and board to recruit planned giving champions.


CFRE: Approved for 1 point  

CAP: Approved for 1 hour CE Credit

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Cathy Sheffield


Cathy R. Sheffield is a fundraising executive with over 24-years experience, specializing in major gifts and gift planning in higher education and healthcare. Cathy is a Vice President with Thompson & Associates and President of ThinkGiving, a consulting firm based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Cathy is the immediate past-chair of the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners, served as the 2015 Chair of the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning held in Orlando, FL, and is a member of the CGP Leadership Institute, Cathy is a member of the Charitable IRA Initiative Board of Directors. Locally, Cathy is a member and past president of the Lone Star Council of PPP (Fort Worth) and a member and past officer of the North Texas Chapter of PPP (Dallas). In 2015, Cathy was honored by the Fort Worth Metro Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals with The Ben Franklin Award for the Outstanding Professional Fundraising Executive. In May, 2017, Cathy was given the Star Award from the Lone Star Council of Charitable Gift Planners for outstanding service to the council and profession.

Cathy received her MBA from Texas Christian University’s Neeley School of Business and a Bachelor of Science from North Dakota State University. Cathy is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy®, Certified Specialist in Planned Giving (CSPG), and a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

Patrick Schmitt


Patrick Schmitt has been involved with philanthropy for over ten years having founded two nonprofit organizations during his time at Georgetown University. He ran email fundraising for President Obama from 2009-2010, generating record amounts in online donations. He was also the Head of Innovation at, where he helped grow that organization to 120 million users in just four years. He is the co-author of “Philanthropy's Missing Trillions” in the Stanford Social Innovation Reviewand “5 Numbers You, Your Boss &  Your Board Need to Know in 2018” in the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners blog. He is the co-founder of FreeWill, a web-based service that hopes to make estate planning warm, accessible, and totally free so that donors can more easily care for the people and causes they love.