Tips from the Top – Relationship Manager, Lavinia Podolak shares on Gift in Will

Want to know Tips from the Top? Lavinia Podolak, Relationship Manager at CBM Australia shares some key insights in the area of Gift in Will from her 18 years of fundraising industry experience.

Why your charity needs a Relationship Manager


Photo: Lavinia Podolak, Relationship Manager at CBM Australia

You don’t need to be in the charity sector for too long before you realise that the aging and retired community are your best supporters. This loyal audience especially values personalisation achieved through ongoing various touchpoints of engagement.

What many don’t realise though, is that more can be achieved with this audience. There are more common goals that you both share.

This is where Lavinia Podolak, Relationship Manager at CBM Australia comes in.

The role of a Relationship Manager

A Relationship Manager will journey alongside key supporters who identify as suitable for leaving a legacy with your organisation.

In her own words Lavinia describes,

‘My role as a Relationship Manager is to nurture relationships with supporters who have indicated they’ve included CBM in their Will. I am also responsible to identify any prospect GIW (Gift in Will) supporters as well as manage some key Major Donor relationships.

‘This is generally achieved by maintaining ongoing conversations, learning about what makes the supporter’s heart tick and finding the overlap with what your organisation does.’

Lavinia’s Top Tip

One of the most effective tools Lavinia has used in her career is the GIW information booklet.

By having one of these booklets written and produced, Lavinia explains,

‘You can leave a home visit with a small snapshot of your conversation in the supporter’s hands.’

Generally, a GIW information booklet should include:

  1. An overview of the organisations work

  2. Supporter testimonials

  3. Engaging pictures of the organisation’s recipients and key stakeholders

  4. Some legal tips to assist with decision-making when a supporter is considering nominating a not-for-profit in their Will.

Mistakes made in the industry

Ethical and moral dilemmas can often arise in the area of Relationship Managing and Gift in Will.

In reflecting on her 18 years of experience, Lavinia shares,

‘I’m not sure I can recount any major mistakes or regrets. In the past I have known of colleagues in the industry failing to manage the best use of their time when visiting supporters. Often staying way beyond a duration deemed responsible for a visit.

‘I’ve also heard of instances when colleagues in the industry have personally taken supporters to solicitor appointments to ensure the supporter put the not-for-profit in their Will.

‘This practice is obviously unethical and a big reason why Relationship Managers must be transparent, honest and caring. Thankfully, in the past 10 years processes have changed and the industry is now regulated by the Privacy Act  and also by FIA codes of practice.’

How to stay up-to-date with the latest trends for Gift in Will.

To keep informed and at the forefront of best-practice in the industry, these are some of Lavinia’s go-to’s:

  1. FIA/Include a Charity

  2. Market Smart

  3. LinkedIn

  4. Fundraising consultants incl. Pareto and Moceanic

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