Who's Behind It

When you think “Donor-Centered Planned Giving” the first two names which come to mind are Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE and Viken Mikaelian. With over 35 years of combined planned giving and communications experience between them, Brian and Viken have helped charities — from the small, one person shop to the large, national organizations and research universities — build highly successful planned giving programs.

Their methods and materials have been tested and vetted with real donors at many charities just like yours for the past two decades, ensuring that Planned Giving in a Box can deliver on the promise of helping your organization build a sustainable, effective planned giving program.

Because they know how busy you are, they have taken their know-how and put it into a package which you can implement in as little as one hour a week.

Brian M. Sagrestano, JD, CFRE

The go-to guy for industry-leading insight into donor-centered planned giving.

If Brian wants to sing in a barbershop quartet, we say let him. Because judging by his standing as the go-to guy for industry-leading advice in donor-centered planned giving, we might all do well to give his unique hobby a try.

In addition to being President and CEO of Gift Planning Development, LLC, a full service gift planning consulting firm, Brian also shares his time with VirtualGiving.Com as a valued consultant and advisor. His clients have included charities large and small, including the University of Notre Dame, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Temple University, Create a Jewish Legacy, Delaware Art Museum, and Chilton Hospital Foundation, among others. Many of the materials used to create Planned Giving in a Box were carefully vetted in his Gift Planning Essentials program, a six month, one-on-one program to guide charities through building a planned giving program.

He earned degrees from Cornell University (A.B. cum laude) and Notre Dame Law School (J.D. cum laude) and started his career specializing in tax and estate planning and related areas. But Brian’s donor-centered philosophy ultimately drew him into philanthropic planning full-time.

Prior to starting GPD, Brian served as Executive Director of Gift Planning for the University of Pennsylvania and Director of Gift Planning for Middlebury College in Vermont and Meridian Health Affiliated Foundations in New Jersey. The various gift planning programs under his direction raised over $400 million.

A dynamic and engaging speaker and teacher, Brian has addressed more than 200 groups over his career, including presentations at conferences nationwide for organizations including the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, the Council on the Advancement and Support of Education, and the Association of Fund Raising Professionals, among others.

Brian is a past board member of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP), Gift Planning Council of New Jersey and PPP of Greater Philadelphia. He has been published and cited in numerous periodicals, including Planned Giving Tomorrow. His first book, with co-author Robert Wahlers, The Philanthropic Planning Companion: A Charitable Giving Guide for Fundraisers and Advisors, is due for publication by Wiley in the spring of 2012.

When not working, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife and three daughters at his home in New York State’s scenic Mohawk Valley.

When not working, Viken enjoys playing the classical guitar.

Viken Mikaelian

Energizes planned giving programs with smart marketing, tomorrow’s technology, and common sense.

In 1999, Viken co-founded VirtualGiving.Com, the first company focused specifically on "Bringing Planned Giving to the Internet." Since then, VirtualGiving.Com has helped over 600 non-profits get their planned giving programs on the Web, published numerous white papers, and conducted various national surveys to help you and your peers.

Viken is also the founder of Planned Giving.Com, LLC which is a powerful resource with ready-to-go, downloadable planned giving content for all gift planners. He also publishes Planned Giving Tomorrow, a quarterly publication packed with planned giving marketing ideas for all fundraisers -- not just planned giving executives.

His major area of concentration for the past 19 years has been development communications, producing over 1600 publications for capital campaigns and planned giving programs. His former marketing firm's portfolio includes numerous awards, including five from CASE.

Viken's expertise in combining planned giving principles with marketing and technology tools to explain planned giving to the lay prospect continues to make him a driving force in the planned giving community. In the past 9 years alone, Viken has presented at over 220 planned giving councils, AFP and AHP chapters, foundations and banks, including 4 presentations at PPP (formerly National Committee on Planned Giving).

Viken is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a pre med student and almost decided to become a doctor. The planned giving community is very thankful that he did not.