In this month’s “Gift Planner Profile,” we talk with Wayne Lynch, executive director of The Regency Foundation in Philadelphia. The Foundation, spearheaded by Mr. Lynch just over four years ago, provides support primarily for Philadelphia College of Bible. With 25 years of experience in fund development, Mr. Lynch shares his views on the gift planning field in this issue of Give & Take.
Give & Take: How did you come to work in the field of fund raising?
Lynch: I have been in fund raising for 25 years, but I started in mortgage banking work. My degree is in marketing and finance. Over time I grew dissatisfied with the feeling that what I was accomplishing did not really have any lasting, spiritual value. Out of the blue I felt like I was called to work at a local school that had only 65 students and it was struggling. I went to meet the headmaster and I said, “What can I do at your school?” He said they needed someone who could raise funds, teach, and coach. I told him I didn’t know how to do any of those things but I could learn! I was there 11 years and we grew to 650 students and expanded five times during that period. I gravitated toward the fund raising aspect of my job while I was there. I came to Philadelphia College of Bible in 1986 as Vice President for Development. We started The Regency Foundation four and half years ago.
Give & Take: What changes have you observed in the gift planning profession over the years?
Lynch: I think there is much more of an emphasis now on building relationships with donors, building integrity, and on really sharing the vision and mission of your organization. When I first got into the field in the ’70s, it was heavily geared toward emergency appeals and appeals based almost purely on uninformed emotion. People were worn out from all the emphasis on crises, inflation, etc. Now there is much more of a focus on cultivating donors. Boards also recognize that there are costs involved in raising money. On the planning side, a number of giving vehicles, like gift annuities and charitable trusts, have become much more popular over the years.
Give & Take: Do you have a personal motto regarding how donors should be treated in the gift planning process?
Lynch: You need to help them accomplish their goals with all factors considered—their family, their financial situation, and their future. You want to help them by showing them opportunities and possibilities that they can avail themselves of. With our institution, I want to show donors our mission and vision. I want to build a relationship over time so they can better see how they can help us achieve our goals. We hope that their goals in the future will be to help us do the Lord’s work. We can help them accomplish that in a satisfying, rewarding, and financially efficient way.
Give & Take: What is your favorite aspect of your job?
Lynch: My favorite part of my job is finding the millionaire next door—the person who didn’t realize how much they had. To take these people through the process of creating charitable giving vehicles is the most fun of all. Helping them to realize the full potential of the resources they have been entrusted with is extremely gratifying. We promote good stewardship, which means taking care of your resources while making appropriate charitable gifts at the right times in life. America enjoys a rich spiritual heritage that is based in large part on encouraging us to be generous and give liberally. Giving and stewardship of our resources naturally involve planning. As Bob Sharpe has said many times, “Show me someone who plans and they are going to be the one who gives the most.” I am glad to have the opportunity to work with such generous planners every day.