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02Jan 18

November 30, 2017

As of November 30, 2017

Just finished speaking at a fundraising professionals conference in North Carolina and during the lunch period a senior VP from a university updated us about tax issues. These are complicated and at times alarming issues for us, so it behooves us to be aware and knowledgeable, and maybe even take appropriate action within our professional associations. Here is the latest information from our collegial groups:




No doubt some other resources are also available.  Let us know if you have information or questions. And let’s hope for the best as it pertains to our causes and important work.

Don’t forget the valuable information from a leading “watchdog” organization—even if most NAD organizations don’t see the need for this approval process, at the least we should be aware of the requirements for approval by this entity. The website is and here is the masthead.

Do you need help in planning for your fundraising program, or perhaps have a form of guidelines that will alert you to steps to take?  Of course, contact PSI for assistance and materials, but also remember that we have a couple of planning and tracking forms designed particularly for academy fundraising and also a more general one for use by any organization.  Check with me at

Giving USA issued a special report on religious giving.  If you don’t have this, we can share some highlights with you.

Also, a really significant article appeared in the daily updates from the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  Again, if you don’t receive this, we can give you the highlights or perhaps you can pull it up:

NOVEMBER 13, 2017
Donors Say They Don’t Give More Because of Money Constraints and Lack of Nonprofit Transparency

By Timothy Sandoval

Watch for PSI’s holiday greetings!  Until next time, and please contact any of us at any time if we can be of assistance.

Lilya Wagner

Mobile:  317-250-8274

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01Jan 18

January 1, 2018

As of January 1, 2018

As we begin a new calendar year, we at PSI wish you the best for you personally and in your significant work for each of your organizations. Please remember our sole purpose for existing is to assist you and help you do your work in the best way possible.

Just a reminder that I share news and information with you every two or three weeks, and I look for the latest in resources as well as answers to questions we receive from the field. This time I’m featuring some new and very helpful books.

For those of you in healthcare fundraising, or if you know someone in healthcare, you may be interested in a new book by Betsy Chapin Taylor, a renowned authority on healthcare philanthropy.  She edited an excellent volume published by the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, Transforming Health Care Philanthropy. She has brought together authors who wrote about “grateful engagement,” using metrics, major gifts as art and science, and other relevant and current topics.

For those of you interested in global philanthropy, here’s a suggestion. Based upon the survey results of 4,150 donors worldwide, the 2017 Global Trends in Giving Report is unique in that it is the only annual research project dedicated to studying how donors worldwide prefer to give and engage with their favorite their favorite causes and charitable organizations.

Download the Report:

All of us will be interested in a new book about congregational giving in North America.  Dr. Bill Enright is the author of Kitchen Table Giving: Reimagining How Congregations Connect with their Donors. A retired pastor, he is the Emeritus Founding Executive Director of the Lake Institute on Faith and Giving at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University (2004-2015.) A Director of the Lilly Endowment, he has served on the board of numerous nonprofits and faith-based organizations.

And of course we refer you to the latest issue of the AFP journal, Advancing Philanthropy, which focuses on ethics, regulation, and how to approach these serious issues professionally. The entire issue is well worth reading!  If you don’t get this journal, perhaps we can help you with specific articles that interest you. Here are some exceptional titles:

  • Rules Were Made to Be Followed
  • Ethics:  Everybody’s Business
  • An Illustrated Guide to Ethical Problems
  • What We Need is T-r-u-s-t
  • How to Approach Donors to Give Monthly, the Ethical Way
  • It’s the Ethical Thing to Do
  • Education, Regulation and the New York State Charities Bureau
  • The Ethics of Overhead
  • Weaving Ethics Into Your Professional Life
  • The Role of Leader:  The “Marriage” of Diversity and Ethics (by Lilya Wagner and Birgit Burton)

We repeat, PSI is here to make your professional life easier and better, and we will do all that’s possible to serve YOU and your organizations! Greetings from COLD Maryland!!

Lilya Wagner

Mobile:  317-250-8274

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08Nov 17

November 8, 2017

News and Notes from the DirectorIt’s time to plan year-end appeals.  Contact us if you need some ideas or information.

Congratulations to Janel Ware of Shenandoah Valley Academy!  She received her Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at a recent course taught in DC!   It was also a pleasure to have Miriam Battles from Oakwood University in the group!  Also pictured is Dr. Gene Tempel, founding dean of the School.







Also congratulations to the Advancement office of Walla Walla University, led by Jodi Wagner.  They received recognition for overall performance by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).  This is a stellar achievement and we’re pleased to know one of our ranks was honored.  See the list here.

A really important item of information for anyone who is doing fundraising appeared in a recent Chronicle of Philanthropy Daily Update, Oct. 26, 2017, “The Best Research Available for Fundraisers:  A Roundup.” We base our services on both best practices and research on what works, and many of you will be interested, I’m sure, in seeing the sources of the research. If you don’t get the Chronicle, write me and I’ll send you the article.

A yearly highlight for PSI is the President’s Dinner, and it was held in the new NAD building this year, during year-end meetings (see photos on Events page on our website). Our sincere thanks to Dr. Amir Pasic, current dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, who gave an excellent keynote address. We appreciate those who attended this special event and have shown interest and support of PSI’s work for NAD constituents.

Coming soon!! Charlotte Henderson is working on a comprehensive mentoring program and it will soon be available! We want to use this “tool” to help new fundraisers, strengthen those who are already in practice, and recruit new individuals to our great profession. We also have information on careers in fundraising—contact me or any PSI staff member if you wish to have information, and be sure to download Your Future in Fundraising, available on our website, or purchase this at low-cost from  We always welcome new individuals to this great profession.

Don’t forget that besides personal counsel that PSI provides, we have many resources such as a library and we do grant searches for you.

Until next time! We try to bring you news every two weeks. Apologies that this is late due to my computer locking me out (thanks, Windows 10!) while traveling.

Lilya Wagner

Mobile:  317-250-8274

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13Oct 17

October 13, 2017

As promised, here is installment #3 from PSI, catching you up on a few select items about our work and clients, and also updating you on some interesting happenings in the world of philanthropy and fundraising.

The annual tradition of a President’s Dinner is coming soon, on the evening of October 29.  This year’s featured speaker will be the Dean of the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Dr. Amir Pasic.  Our theme is one that concerns all of us who do fundraising—the better the organizational context, the better success we have with fundraising.  We will also feature a short video of leading professionals speaking about this topic and how they have addressed it.  Watch for it on this website after the dinner.  Please urge your Conference and Union presidents to come, along with other leaders with whom you interact.

Coming soon—a survey about how you wish to receive PSI news!  Please fill it out when you receive it so we know how best to serve you!

Remember the Bible text you probably memorized as a child, or at some point in your life you learned this key text… “It’s more blessed to give than to receive!”  Well, we give credence to this thought because we believe in the Bible, but now we also have secular research backing this up!!  If interested, write me at and I’ll send you some references you can use.

Academies continue to grow in fundraising and make headway—yes, I’m repeating this sentence from last time, but it’s worth repeating!!  Please remember and also share this information that PSI has many resources that can help, including a new planning form, as well as our handbook, Successful Fundraising, and countless other materials.  We also come on-site to help you!  Share and spread the news that we are ready and able to help academies move ahead!

Here is a sobering bit of news– CHRONICLE OF PHILANTHROPY DAILY UPDATE

OCTOBER 03, 2017 Fewer Americans Find Room in Their Budgets for Charity, Chronicle Data Show.  If you don’t receive the Chronicle, ask us for info about this piece.

Featuring one of PSI’s consultants this month—our special consultants help meet the many and growing requests for PSI’s help, and we’re fortunate to have them on our team for special gigs and assistance.

Dr.  Dennis Carlson is a fundraising and leadership consultant for non-profits, focusing largely on Seventh-day Adventist entities such as local churches.  His experience in philanthropy includes four years as Vice President for Advancement at Walla Walla University and various fundraising initiatives within the church context during his years as a pastor and church leader.  He served as Vice President for Administration in both the Washington and Upper Columbia Conferences and as President of the Minnesota Conference and the Mid-American Union Conference.  He was chair of the board of Philanthropic Services for Institutions (PSI) during his time as Assistant to the President for Administration at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.  He also served on the Advisory Committee for PSI.  He earned a B.A. in Theology from Columbia Union College (Now Washington Adventist University) and a Master of Divinity degree from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University.  He earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Northwest Theological Union.

Lilya WagnerUntil next time!

Mobile:  317-250-8274

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06Oct 17

October 2017

As of September 25, 2017

As announced last time, we’re beginning a new Director’s Column this month, and will publish it biweekly, on approximately the 1st and 15th of each month.  We’ll cover PSI news items, feature achievements, alert you to latest “hot buttons,” and share information that might be helpful to you.  As the news tradition puts it…

The Fundraising Fitness Test, spearheaded by Randy Fox with the assistance of our friend Bill Levis, continues to make headway and make waves at the same time.  It’s a great way to be accountable to yourself as well as your team and administrators by understanding what works in your fundraising efforts.  As a spin-off from the Fundraising Effectives Project of the AFP, it’s a tool that crunches the numbers for you.  Take a look now on our website and write

PSI was represented at the ASI conference and subsequently assisted several who stopped by our exhibit.  We value the efforts of ASI members and are happy to help them with advice and resources whenever possible.

Academies continue to grow in fundraising and make headway, but at the same time we’re a bit astonished about how many don’t know what PSI services can do for them—and those services range from consulting to our successful MAP program. See below.

Click to view the PSI Education Services Flyer for 2017

Don’t forget that we can advertise jobs and post resumes on PSI’s website—perhaps we can help you, whether an employer or job seeker, make the right match for mutual benefit!

PSI is fortunate to have several professionals assisting us as requests for our services increases constantly.  We’ll periodically feature these consultants, for whom we and many of our clients are grateful.

Derek L. Lane

Mr. Lane is the Principal owner of The Lane Consulting Group, an agency that provides workshops, training, and consulting services for community and faith-based organizations throughout the U.S. Some of his clients include World Vision, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Christian Community Development Association. Specific areas of specialization for churches and faith-based organizations include launching, growing, and funding nonprofits, governance, church growth, stewardship, and community relations. He has launched over a dozen non-profit agencies and secured $20+ million in grants and resources over the past thirty years. He is an ordained minister and graduate of Oakwood University and completed graduate-level work at MS State University in Leadership. He also completed the Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute through Sanford University. In 2013 he was selected as a Peer Reviewer for the Standards of Excellence© Institute, and is the membership director for ASI in the Southern Union. He enjoys public speaking, writing and is passionate about helping communities, churches, and nonprofit organizations make an impact where they serve.

Until next time!

Mobile:  317-250-8274

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Lilya's Corner

Suggested Resources

In the library

Nonprofit Excellence in Fundraising

Nonprofit Fundraising 101Built upon the success of the best-selling “Nonprofit Management 101,” this easy to digest book provides practical, comprehensive guidance for nonprofit fundraising around the globe. With tips and tools, expert advice, and real-world insights from almost fifty industry leaders, this robust resource addresses the entire spectrum of fundraising for nonprofits, including: Planning, hiring, and tracking progress Individual donors, major gifts, events, and direct mail Board and volunteer engagement Foundation and government grants Corporate partnerships Online and email fundraising.

Advice from the Expert

January 2018

Verifying Charity Trustworthiness

By Bennett Weiner

Most of us make donations to charity in response to an “ask.” While there are other triggers that may prompt us to give, such as in response to a major disaster or tragedy, the solicitation is the key that opens the door to the majority of gifts received by organizations. Of course, we can’t contribute to every charity appeal received, so we support the causes we care about most. But how does one vet these chosen charities?

Some may seek to ensure the charity is tax exempt as a charity under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and thus eligible to receive deductible gifts. Or, one might check to see if the charity is registered to solicit with the applicable state government agency (usually a division of the state attorney general’s office.) While those are helpful considerations that demonstrate the organization has followed legal requirements, each of these checks don’t really tell you which charity is managed well.

More knowledgeable donors may look for a copy of the charity’s most recently completed IRS Form 990 which is the annual financial form that charities (other than houses of worship) are required to file if they have gross receipts of over $200,000 (or the EZ version if their gross receipts are between $50,000 and $200,000.) Many charities include links to copies of these completed forms on their websites or one may access them through state government agencies that register charities, or by visiting third-party websites that make the 990 publicly available.

Without the applicable training, the financial and other information in the IRS Form 990 can be a challenge for donors to understand and interpret. There are third-party charity rating services that grade charities based on a review of some of the information contained in these forms. This information is helpful but is generally limited to the information contained in the completed government forms.

There is a third-party standards-based service, however, that evaluates charities based on a review of not only the IRS Form 990, but the audited financial statements, annual reports, appeals, websites and other comprehensive information requested from the charitable organization: the BBB Wise Giving Alliance (also known as BBB’s This information is reviewed in relation to the 20 BBB Standards for Charity Accountability which address charity governance, finances, results reporting, appeal accuracy, transparency, donor privacy, and other issues. There is no charge to charities for this accountability assessment and the resulting reports are free to the public at If the charity is found to meet all 20 Standards, they are called a BBB Accredited Charity. If one or more standards are not met, the report will specify the standard(s) and explain why the charity does not meet them. In those instances where the charity does not provide any of the requested information to BBB’s, despite repeated written request, the report will feature this nondisclosure result.

In addition to helping donors verify the trustworthiness of charities, BBB’s also seeks to strengthen charity accountability by communicating with the subject charities and informing them of what actions they can take to amend any concerns found during the accountability review process. Many charities implement these recommendations in order to amend initial findings brought to their attention.

BBB charity reporting is not a new BBB program but one with a long and rich history of Better Business Bureau activity. The need for factual, impartial information on charitable organizations emerged early in the development of the 100-year old Better Business Bureau system. While many are familiar with the BBB name for its complaint handling services and its reporting on businesses, they are less familiar with its charity reporting efforts. Visit to learn more about BBB charity reporting.

Bennett Weiner serves as chief operating officer of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance. In this capacity, he manages all aspects of the organization that monitors and reports on charitable organizations that solicit nationally.  Mr. Weiner has been engaged in BBB charity evaluation activities since 1980. He oversees the publication of the Wise Giving Guide magazine, written reports on national charities, and provides guidance to local charity evaluation activities carried out by Better Business Bureaus. Over the years, he has been interviewed or quoted in numerous print and broadcast media. Mr. Weiner has testified before U.S. Congressional Committees on various charity accountability issues. From 1998-2001 The NonProfit Times included him in its annual list of Top 50 influential nonprofit executives. In 2005, he won the BBB Meritorious Service Award – an annual award given to individuals in the Better Business Bureau system. Mr. Weiner has participated in a variety of advisory committees addressing charity accountability matters. In 2010, he was appointed to the newly formed Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee of the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

Bennett M. Weiner,
Chief Operating Officer,
BBB Wise Giving Alliance
3033 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 600
Arlington, VA 22201-3863

Career information for fundraising professionals and practitioners

Finding Meaning in the Mysterious

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

November 30, 2017

As of November 30, 2017 Just finished speaking at a fundraising professionals conference in North Carolina and during the lunch…

read more

January 1, 2018

As of January 1, 2018 As we begin a new calendar year, we at PSI wish you the best for…

read more

November 8, 2017

It’s time to plan year-end appeals.  Contact us if you need some ideas or information. Congratulations to Janel Ware of…

read more

October 13, 2017

As promised, here is installment #3 from PSI, catching you up on a few select items about our work and…

read more

October 2017

As of September 25, 2017 As announced last time, we’re beginning a new Director’s Column this month, and will publish…

read more

September 2017

Beginning this month, PSI staff and I will use this column for a biweekly update of: news in our fundraising,…

read more
August 2017 – Nonprofit Governance and Compliance

August 2017 – Nonprofit Governance and Compliance

Most fundraising professionals and many nonprofit personnel are familiar with the newspaper, Nonprofit Times, which is available as both hard-copy and on-line…

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July 2017 – Helpful Study on Oversight

One of the influential and significant organizations in our field is the Urban Institute, which houses the Center on Nonprofits…

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June 2017 – Advancing Philanthropy

As most of our readers no doubt know, the Association of Fundraising Professionals is a leading group for the fundraising…

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May 2017 – Working with a Board of Directors

Nonprofit World Magazine is a useful, readable, hands-on type of journal and is entirely on-line (See Nonprofit World). According to Jason Chmura,…

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April 2017 – FYI from the Director

When I first entered the profession of fundraising, there were few journals—or for that matter, few books as well—that were…

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March 2017 – FYI from the Director

As promised in my last Director’s Message, each month I will summarize an article of significance to fundraising and also…

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