Lehigh Valley Philanthropy Institute 2023

View our full 2023 event program here.

2023 Lehigh Valley Philanthropy Institute

May 9, 2023 | 7:30 am - 3:30 pm at DeSales University Center in Center Valley

Join us for the Lehigh Valley’s preeminent educational conference for fundraising professionals. The 2023 Institute is bringing industry experts and non-profit leaders and volunteers together for a day of learning best practices in fundraising techniques, innovation, research, and career development.

About Our Keynote Speaker

Jason Lewis is the founder of Responsive Fundraising; a professional learning community committed to changing what it means to increase fundraising capacity in today's nonprofit sector. Responsive strives to ensure that leaders understand and experience a holistic approach that is meaningful for those on both sides of the exchange. Responsive's four sense-making tools allow each trainer the opportunity to help their client create places where fundraising can thrive. Jason is the publisher of Carefully & Critically; Responsive's quarterly professional journal.

Jason is a professor at York College of Pennsylvania where he teaches nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, organizational behavior and small business consulting. Jason's first book, The War for Fundraising Talent, was an honest yet hopeful critique of contemporary fundraising practices. Jason's forthcoming book is scheduled for release in 2023. Jason hosts The Fundraising Talent Podcast which has been ranked as one of the most popular nonprofit podcasts in the US, UK, and Canada.

Lehigh Valley Philanthropy Institute Details

The Lehigh Valley Philanthropy Institute is your premiere fundraising conference in the region offering unique programs for development professionals to learn from leading experts in the field. Topics include best practices in fundraising techniques, innovation, research, and development.

Attendee Pricing

AFP Member - $125 ($99 Early Bird until April 1, 2023)
Non-Member/Future Member - $175
Group Rate - Groups of 6+ attendees can use code LVPIGROUP for 20% off of their registration.

Sponsor Tickets - Please use the code provided in your receipt email to register your comped tickets per your sponsor level.

See all speaker bios on our website here.

Institute Session Breakdown

Keynote Address
Jason Lewis, Responsive Fundraising

Following the release of his book, The War for Fundraising Talent, Jason Lewis launched The Fundraising Talent Podcast as a platform for fundraising professionals to voice their responses to our professional community’s most pressing questions. Since 2018, The Fundraising Talent Podcast has hosted 400+ unrehearsed, unstructured conversations and has become one of the most popular nonprofit podcasts in the US, the UK, and Canada.

From these conversations, Jason has gleaned valuable insights about the plight of today’s fundraiser and developed an in-depth perspective of how they make sense of their challenges and opportunities. Arguably the most misunderstood and under-appreciated role in the nonprofit sector, Jason’s observations will include insights about the fundraiser’s pandemic experience, their reactions to ideological debates, the role that technology plays in their work, their expectations for boards and bosses, and their navigation of complex donor behavior.

Speaking in Ages, Understanding Our Most Senior Donors

Colleen Bowman, Planned Giving Marketing 

All fundraising levels


Communication and conversation are at the heart of everything we do as fundraisers, learning how to understand and become more effective with the eldest individuals we work with is critical. We all know different generations have different interests. How do you convey your message to different generations? As we age our developmental drivers change, compounding a generational challenge. In this research-based session you will learn how to talk and market generationally and age effectively.



What am I supposed to do with them?

Dick Button, Senior Consultant, MMS Advancement Associates, LLC

All fundraising levels, CEOs, Executive Directors, and Board Members


Do you understand WHY we have a board of directors? Why does everyone talk about them so much? Are they really that important? Now that I report to one, what am I supposed to do with it? Do I have to??? Building an effective board starts with everyone understanding why boards exist in the first place. Once you have a firm grasp on that, working successfully with them, building an effective board, and getting their support all fall into place with ease.



Developing and Utilizing Volunteers to Optimize Your Campaign

Rebekkah L. Brown, VP, Advancement, Muhlenberg College and Kimberly B. Anderson, Assistant VP, Advancement Services and Campaign Director

All fundraising levels


Campaigns are an integral part of every advancement operation, and a key component to Campaign momentum and success is the participation of dedicated volunteers. Through volunteer engagement, your campaign will be better positioned to reach its full potential and your organization will be better positioned to sustain a robust philanthropic culture among constituents. Join us to learn how Muhlenberg College built a campaign structure that incorporates more than 70 volunteers who are actively engaged in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.



The Four Fundraising Frameworks (2-part session)

Jason Lewis, Author, Founder of Responsive Fundraising; York College of Pennsylvania Professor teaching nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and small business consulting. 

All fundraising levels


In The War for Fundraising Talent, we introduced a vivid framework for ensuring that nonprofits have a shared understanding of how fundraising really works. In addition to providing a resource for planning and evaluating fundraising performance, our four frameworks address many of the all-too familiar roadblocks that organizations encounter as they cultivate their donors towards greater levels of support. Implemented effectively, these capacity-building tools can become the centerpiece of communication between the development office, the executive suite, and the boardroom.



Sherlock your way to success!

MaryHelen McCulloch, Esq., The Haverford School

All fundraising levels


Fundraising is all about securing the best outcomes for our donors and our organizations. But, what is the best ask and the best gift for each donor? In this session you will receive tools to become a gift detective to determine whether someone is a major gift, planned giving, or blended gift prospect.



Fearless Philanthropy

Kelly Grattan, Ph.D., CAP®, CFRE, Schultz & Williams

All fundraising levels


We all know the best time to launch a robust planned giving program is the day your organization receives its 501C3 status, and we’re also very aware that most organizations are long past that time with little to show on the planned giving front. Embracing an “it’s never too late” mentality, it’s time to face planned giving head-on, with a fearlessness that will jump start even the most nascent planned giving program. In this session, we’ll show you all the latest, most innovative approaches, tools, and resources and why you don’t need to be fluent in CLTs and CGAs to make this happen for your organization. 

Demystifying Donors with Funds

Carrie Nedick, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation

Fundamentals (1-3 years); Intermediate (4-7 years)


This session will focus on donors who have taken the step to establish a charitable fund, their incentive for doing so, the rationale behind a charitable fund, and what it means to work with these types of donors.  We'll look at how to document, acknowledge, and steward these gifts, and how to include a fund vehicle as an option for giving on appeals and on your website. And, we'll take a look at some of the benefits and limitations of charitable funds.

Calamity, Constraint, Good Practice? The Importance of Policies & Procedures

Jill C. Anderson & Lisa Brand, Moravian University

All fundraising levels


Policies and procedures may seem like a dull topic. However, if you want real philanthropic excitement, see what happens when they are not in place and your organization is put at risk! Let’s discuss how this foundational system supports the professional development of the team and elevates donor and constituent confidence.

Preparing for the Ask 

Tisha Hyter & Terrance McMahon, PNC  Institutional Asset Management

Advanced & Fundraising Leaders and Executive Directors

Many organizations are wondering when they will receive a mysterious call asking them “if you were to receive a transformative gift, how would you spend it?”.  Is your organization ready to answer that call? The Big Ask – Before you ask for a transformational gift or you start your campaign, you need to have a strategy in place. Preparing your case for support is key. Your organization needs to establish a clear vision and be able to articulate that vision at any time.  Questions to consider: What do you have planned? How are the next few years going to look? How will you use this money?




Your Seat at the Table: The Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy

Stephen Link, Director of Philanthropic Services, Cornerstone Advisors & Erika Petrozelli, President and Chief Executive Officer, Lehigh Valley Community Foundation


Familiarize yourself with the value of continuing your fundraising education by earning CAP designation. This session will outline the CAP academic content and discuss the benefit of participating in the Lehigh Valley CAP Study Group. Key takeaways will be highlighted from the CAP coursework and information sharing in the Study Group including:

  1. What seat do you have at the donor’s advisory table? Are you even at the table? Are you viewed as the trusted advisor by the donor, or a non-objective ‘salesperson’ for your charity?
  2. How do estate planning attorneys approach drafting will update? It’s not what you might think.
  3. What is frequently the focus of the donor’s CPA? How might this be thwarting your solicitation?
  4. What is the focus of a donor’s financial advisor? Is there a conflict with your role as a fundraiser? How do you bridge the gap?
  5. How is the landscape of philanthropy shifting? What do you need to be cognizant of to better partner with your donors and their advisors?

NPO - For Profit Partnerships

Meg Dowd, Corporate Affairs Manager, Just Born & Michelle Ellison, CFRE, MPA, Director of Development, Valley Health Partners

All fundraising levels


Just Born’s Corporate Affairs Manager Meg Dowd and Valley Health Partner’s Director of Development Michelle Ellison speak about a funding partnership for increased inclusivity. Just Born established an innovative funding pool to support DEI work in the Lehigh Valley. Valley Health Partners was awarded funding to put towards the newly formed Criminal Justice Navigator role, part of the VHP Street Medicine team. Understand how Just Born developed this funding model and why they felt it was important. See the funding in action through the Criminal Justice Navigator role, as embedded in the VHP Street Medicine team. Hear from the VHP Street Medicine team (special guests) for an open discussion on successes and challenges.



Donor Motivation

Dr. Scott Janney, Eastern USA Territory, The Salvation Army

Intermediate (4-7 years);



This session will explore the role of the fundraiser in a donor's decision-making process, how to ask questions that focus on a donor’s reason for giving, and how to help the donor see the gift as a personal fulfillment of his or her philanthropic dream. The major gifts or planned giving fundraising professional’s most important job is to help the donor state his or her philanthropic vision in clear and compelling terms. If they can see the dream, donors will invest great efforts in fulfilling their dreams. At many charities, the planned giving professionals are seen as the people with the techniques to find a gift after a major gift proposal has failed, or for “getting to yes” in a difficult negotiation. Fundraisers will find it extremely helpful to review the reason the donors or prospects wanted to make a substantial gift in the first place. When they reconnect with the dream, they are willing to keep working on the financial solution.

You Don't Give Enough for That! Why the Stewardship Matrix Matters

Jill C. Anderson & Heather  L. Christein, Moravian University

All fundraising levels


In this session, participants will learn about the chaotic and comedic situations that happen when stewardship goes awry. From the first-time annual donor to the planned gift donor, stewardship is critical to ensuring donors feeling valued and moving them through the gift pipeline. Participants will understand the importance of a stewardship matrix and how to build or refine one for their organization. We will also share unique and personally meaningful stewardship ideas that make donors feel seen, appreciated, and valued.



Emotional Intelligence = Successful Leadership

Dr. Lisa Geosits, Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania

Fundamentals (1-3 years)


Effective leaders need to be able to manage interpersonal relationships and the development of others, leading through compassion and caring, collaboration and community. Leaders also need to manage innovation, the future, and continuous improvement, creativity, and flexibility.  Establishing clear emotional intelligence and empathy for others are critical to the effectiveness of the leader and their relationship with staff and supporters of the organization. The session will cover the following topics: self-leadership, emotional intelligence (EI) competencies, application scenario, exploration of emotional intelligence by utilizing a short online quiz to identify the participants EI competencies and conclude with how does this apply to the organization.



How to Double Your Annual Fund Donors and Dollars
Greg Woodman of Affinity Connections
Fundraising Levels - All

Bringing the Growth/Investment Mindset (verse fixed) along with your “abundant theory of life” (verse scarcity) to your Annual Fund.  You can double and triple your annual fund and set up a major capital campaign using what consumer marketers do every day to amplify all our bad habits---think alcohol, salty snacks, sugary soda and now everywhere you turn we are getting pitched for legalized marijuana, gambling and overpaying for apparel due to the branding of cool.  You are saving, transforming, and changing lives every day and losing share of mind and money to companies doing the exact opposite –slowly ruining lives.    Learn to change the story and to present the opportunity to make an impact.  Learn to bring consumer marketing to your nonprofit and annual fund.    Tiny changes will bring Remarkable results, but it starts with your mindset.   Join the workshop and you will leave with a workbook of how to enhance and amplify and package and distribute YOUR STORY.   


Presenting Sponsor

Print Sponsor

Premier Sponsor

Networking Reception Sponsor


Partner Sponsors

MMS Advancement Associates LLC

Planned Giving Marketing

Schultz & Williams

St. Luke's University Health Network

The American College

Thrivent Financial


Affinity Connection

Fulton Bank/Fulton Financial Advisors

Members 1st

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to purchase a Sponsorship/Vendor Table/Event Registration but I don't have a Paypal account. What do I do?
All registrations are processed by Paypal, but you do not need an account to make your purchase. Instead of clicking the button to login to your account, you will select the option below to pay by credit/debit card.

I am trying to make a Sponsorship/Vendor Table/Event Registration purchase, but my business credit card is being declined by Paypal. What do I do?
First, confirm the correct name associated with your card so that the transaction goes through. Some business cards are associated with the business name and some are associated with an individual employee's name. Confirm with your card company which name you should be using to complete the transaction.

If you find your credit card is not being accepted with a message such as "The card you entered cannot be used for this payment. Please enter a different credit or debit card number." it might be due to one of the following reasons:
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  • Your card was associated with a PayPal account that has since been closed.
  • You've linked the card to a PayPal account, but have not yet confirmed it.
  • You've exceeded your card limit with the PayPal system.
  • Your email address is raising a red flag in PayPal's system.
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What is the dress code?
Most attendees wear business attire to the Institute. We will have a photographer to capture moments from the Institute as well.

I made a Sponsorship/Vendor Commitment. What do I do now?
Please submit all of your required recognition materials by April 7, 2023. Links to important day-of details and instructions on how to redeem your complimentary tickets are all provided in the receipt email from when you registered your commitment.

Where on the DeSales University campus is the event?
We will be in the University Center building. Click here for directions and see the image below.

We hope to see you attend this impactful event in May! For any additional questions, please contact Christe Konopitski, Chapter Manager, at director@afpglv.org.