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News and Notes from the Director

As of October 5, 2018

The Fundraising Effectiveness Survey Report, which is the parent project of PSI’s Fundraising Fitness Test, has been released for 2017.  This contains very important information, and as you already know, the tools such as the Fundraising Fitness Test are increasinglybeing adopted by responsible and successful organizations.  We can share a copy with you:  Click to download

A project of the Growth in Giving Initiative.  The 2018 Fundraising Effectiveness Project report summarizes data from 13,601 nonprofit organizations covering year to year fundraising results for 2016-2017.

Once again we’re reminded of the need for accountability, transparency, honesty, and trust as we read about yet another incident of betrayal of ethics and good stewardship.  This hit the news recently, in case you missed it:  Couple accused of taking homeless man’s GoFundMe money shows perils of crowdfunding, CBS News.  A New Jersey couple is accused of spending thousands of dollars raised online for a homeless man. The story, which went viral, has turned into a cautionary tale. CBS News correspondent Anna Werner explains. Read the full story

At the same time, we hear good news regarding increasing social media tools.  This was in the August 14, 2018,  issue of the Chronicle of Philanthropy Daily Update,  ‘Alexa, Make a Donation’: How Digital Assistants Might Lift Fundraising:  ‘Alexa Donations’ offers people a convenient new tool for donations. How will charities use it?

 Also in the Chronicle of Philanthropy Daily Update, October 2, 2018, was an article that I specially appreciated:  Immigrants Are an Often Overlooked Force in Giving

“The ranks of the Giving Pledge and America’s wealthy feature a surprising number of foreign-born philanthropists. Who are they, and what causes do they give to?”  This, of course, is special for me as an immigrant but is also supported by my book, Diversity and Philanthropy:  Expanding the Circles of Giving, this book is listed on PSI’s home page, with contributors from many nationalities, cultures, traditions and religions who supported the body of the book.

Please remember the vast resources that PSI can offer you.  One useful item might be our Fundraising Planning table and checklist, which we can readily send to you.

Finally, I saw this on LinkedIn and didn’t see any copyright information, therefore I’m sharing it with you!  No more commentary needed.

Until next time!  My best to each of you,


Lilya Wagner

Mobile:  317-250-8274

For archived messages click here.

RICH TIPS: Orienting New Board Members


Dear Friends,

A board needs to do more than just take up space. It needs to provide value to the organization. Unfortunately, many boards can be formless and useless. A lot of the time, the reasoning behind this lack of activity, is orientation. As soon as new members join, they need to be oriented into the organization and they must be told the expectations of work and participation.

The responsibility of orienting new board members should be shared between the executive director, board chairperson and a few other board members. It should not be the sole responsibility of the executive director or of any one person. However, from my experience you only have a few board meetings to get the new members “on board” and get them rolling, otherwise they will fall into bad habits of expecting to do little or nothing. Board culture is ingrained and established very quickly for new members.

Below are some valuable insight for an effective orientation program that can help welcome new board members:

1. Introduce them to the organization.

Make sure the executive director and other important leaders, sit down with them and go over the organization’s mission, goals, and objectives. It’s critical that the new board members have a solid understanding of the vision and mission of the organization. Have this take place prior to their first board meeting.

2. Give them a tour of the organization’s office and facilities.

Make sure they “see and feel” what the organization is all about, and have them meet some of the clients who can tell them stories that the new board members can share with the community and others. Introduce them to key staff and volunteers.

3. Introduce them personally to each board member.

Take the time to introduce them to everyone as key players, so they feel welcomed as an important participant. Provide the message that they are critical to the success of the organization and they are there not just taking up space.

4. Provide a board orientation manual with the basics.

Make sure the board members know what is expected of them in terms of committee assignments, dollar amount of financial contributions, the role of the board in relationship to the executive director, etc. I still like the three ring binders that are tabulated with categories such as: history and background; goals and objectives, budget and financial information; fundraising, legal documents (by-laws and articles of incorporation), brochures and marketing materials; list and bio of board and staff members; personnel policies and procedures; etc.

5. Take them out to lunch.

Make sure either the board president or the executive director takes the new board members out to lunch during the first month on the job. When you take them to lunch, give them an assignment to fulfill that will get them active right from the get-go. Make sure they “hit the ground running”.

6. Write them a welcome letter.

The board president should write a welcome letter to each new board member that formally welcomes them into the organization and thanks them for their time, energy and expertise.

7. Assign them a buddy.

Have the president of the board assign a new board member a buddy that will sit next to him/her during the first few meetings. This buddy could also go out to lunch with the new member, answer questions and make sure they are engaged and involved right from the beginning.

8. Provide them with necessary information.

Give the new members information such as annual reports, auditor reports, strategic plans, job descriptions, etc. Include some past minutes of meeting and other materials that will help educate the new member.

9. Put them on the agenda.

At the first board meeting, provide every new member an opportunity to talk to the board about their experiences, motivations, and passions. Within the next six months have them conduct a 10-15 minute educational session on an issue they are passionate about. This is a great way for the board to get to know the member and for the member to open up about themselves.


Make sure you thank them for their time and participation. It is also a good idea to begin to collect their birthday, anniversaries and other significant events so you can acknowledge them throughout the year.

Congratulations on any additions you have made to your board!

Rich Male


2018 Conference

What a great time at the 2018 PSI Conference!

Go to our Conference page for more pictures.

Be sure and check out our new mentoring program under the Resources tab

Become a peer-coaching mentor — or — the beneficiary of a mentorship who wishes to “learn the ropes.”


For questions and additional information, contact the PSI Network Connect Manager.

Charlotte Henderson

Introduction to PSI

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We invite you to contact PSI any time you feel you need a consultant, at any stage of your fundraising efforts. We are here for any type of help, and we can even share carefully-selected consultant names or firms.

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Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

Do you know someone interested in the field of Fundraising or someone in the field wanting a different challenge? Be sure and direct them to our JOB CENTER. There they will find not only who is hiring but also a place to have their resume posted for those seeking to hire.

News and Updates from PSI

Fundraising Group Offers New Online Practice Test for Certification

By Eden Stiffman

Fundraisers who want practice their test-taking skills before taking an influential professional certification examination now have a new aid. CFRE International, the organization that offers fundraising certification, has launched a new online practice exam.

“It’s something that fundraisers have been wanting for quite some time,” said Jeff Stanger, education-resources manager at CFRE International. The goal is to give fundraisers a sense of confidence before taking the four-hour, 200-question exam. It includes questions that are similar in difficulty to the actual exam.

“This won’t suddenly make it easy but will help with the confidence that you have an idea of what you’re in for,” said Mr. Stanger, adding that it will be especially helpful for people who have been out of school for some time or who struggle with test-taking.

Other Testing Options

Fundraisers are not required to get professional certification, but 6,050 of them currently hold the credential, most of them in North America. As of June of last year, 103 fundraisers received the Advanced Certified Fund Raising Executive credential, or ACFRE, which is administered by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Many fundraisers say the certification is helpful in seeking new jobs and higher salaries and in reassuring donors and superiors of their professionalism.

People taking the practice test will receive feedback on the questions they get right and wrong. The new tool also provides feedback specific to the test’s six subject areas:

  • Current and prospective donor research
  • Securing gifts
  • Relationship building
  • Leadership and management
  • Involvement of volunteers in fundraising
  • Ethics, accountability, and professionalism.

In addition to the full-length, 100-question practice test, people can take 20-question quizzes to assess their knowledge in specific subject areas. Fundraisers can purchase 30-day and 90-day subscriptions for the study tool.

With the real exam, scores range from 200 to 800; a passing grade is 500 or more. About 75 percent of test-takers pass on the first try, Mr. Stanger said.

CFRE International is also developing a study guide and other study tools that will be released over the next year.

adventist learning community

Most of the contact information that PSI will get from you in the future will come through this site. By opting into our email, you will have access to important information that PSI sends out from time to time. We’ve also included areas for you to add additional information about yourself, your organization, and your interests, in order to help us target your specific needs.

Books and Resources

Successful Fundraising

Are you planning a building project—a new church, addition, school building, or Community Service building? Do you wonder how you should go about getting the funds? Does it seem like your campaign for funds goes on forever? Are your members or constituents tired of talking about money? If you have these questions and probably many others, Successful Fundraising is for you. Explore the options below to see which edition is right for you.

Successful Fundraising: A Handbook for Best Practices

successful fundraising cover 200

Successful Fundraising – Second Edition

Successful Fundraising 2nd Edition

Recaudación de Fondos Segunda Edición


Successful Fundraising – Canadian Edition

Diversity and Philanthropy

Written by Lilya Wagner, EdD, CFRE

A “one size fits all” strategy is not effective when it comes to philanthropy and fundraising in today’s diversified environment. This book enables nonprofit leaders, board members, staff, and volunteers of nonprofit organizations to better reach diverse populations and incorporate perspectives that increase success by surveying the cultural context for philanthropic action. In the PSI Library or offered on Amazon in both Print and Kindle: Order on Amazon | View Praeger Publishers listing

To learn more...

Be sure and check out the new web site developed to coincide with Diversity and Philanthropy:

New to the library

The Ask

A completely revised edition of the must-have resource for increasing your nonprofit’s bottom line.

This thoroughly revised and updated edition of the best-selling book The Ask is filled with suggestions, guidelines, and down-to-earth advice that will give you the confidence to ask anyone for any size gift, for any purpose. Written in winning language, filled with sample dialogues, and offering a wealth of tips and tools, this book addresses common mistakes made when asking and shows how to correct each mistake, providing guidance and direction on how to make a great ask.

If you would like to check out this book or another from our library, please call Lorena Hernandez 443-391-7171 or send an email to her at

Available for download

Your Future in Fundraising 242h

Your Future in Fundraising, by Dr. Lilya Wagner, is now available as a free download here:


The PSI resource center has an array of documents, samples, articles, books, and other materials that will aid your professional activity and practice.

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