Joseph K. Thiegs (Joe) is a consultant with two decades of professional experience in estate planning and philanthropic development, having particular expertise in planned giving, charitable estate planning, and nonprofit organizations. He possesses a truly rare combination of skill sets, personal qualities, professional network, and background that make him especially effective. Having worked as a high-end professional advisor, a front-line development officer, and in non-profit leadership and management, Joe relates well to people in each of those roles, understands their challenges and concerns, and can provide valuable insight to them from personal experience.
Joe started his career as an estate planning attorney at Dorsey & Whitney from 2000-2005, working with high net-worth clients on estate planning, estate and trust administration, and estate and trust litigation matters. He left private practice to join the Planned Giving team at the University of Minnesota Foundation from 2005-2009. Staying at the University, he took a leadership role with responsibility for alumni relations and the annual fund at the University of Minnesota Law School’s Office of Advancement from 2009-2012. For the next seven years until making the leap to consulting full-time in April 2019, Joe led the highly successful Planned Giving program at Minnesota Public Radio and American Public Media.
As a consultant since 2016 with his firm GENEROWORKS LLC, Joe serves a variety of clients. Among them, he is national Planned Giving Advisor for Greater Public, helping public media organizations across the country, and a Vice President with Thompson & AssociatesSM, serving clients including Park Nicollet Foundation and Regions Hospital Foundation and their supporters through Thompson’s values-based estate planning process. Joe enjoys working with a wide variety of people and organizations and helping them get where they want to go.
As a development officer, Joe has worked on and closed gifts of all sizes from $1,000 to more than $10,000,000, and pretty much everything in between. Under his leadership, MPR’s Legacy Society grew from under 400 members to more than 1,000 (setting records for new documented planned gift commitments in six out of seven fiscal years), and documented estate gift expectancies quintupled, from approximately $12 million to more than $60 million, from 2012-2019.
Joe is in high demand as a speaker and trainer on planned giving topics. He has been a regular presenter for the Minnesota Planned Giving Council, including its day-long Brisk Walk Through the Basics training program. In addition, Joe has taught at numerous conferences, including many years at the MPGC Annual Conference, and the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference in Denver, San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas. He served as the inaugural faculty for the first cohort sessions of Greater Public’s Legacy Builders program in 2015, and continues to serve as the facilitator for Greater Public’s Legacy Leaders cohort, including planned giving staff from several of the nation’s most prominent public media stations, including KQED, MPR|APM, OPB, TPT, WGBH, WETA, WNET, WNYC, and others.
Joe served for several years on the Governing Council and the Legislation Committee of the Minnesota State Bar Association’s Probate & Trust Law Section, and was a member of the MSBA joint Task Force evaluating and making recommendations for adoption of Minnesota’s version of UPMIFA. Additionally, Joe has served on the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Planned Giving Council (MPGC), and of the Minnesota Orchestra’s Crescendo Project, as well as on the Development Committee for the Citizens League.
He earned his B.A. in Political Science and Sociology (Thesis with Distinction) from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and his J.D. (cum laude) from the University of Minnesota Law School in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Joe loves people, music, cooking, wine and beer, sports (especially college football and basketball), reading, learning, camping and hiking, photography, cards and other games, humor, spending time with his family, and anything having to do with being on the water.