2018 Session Descriptions

Check out the full schedule for last year’s SOLD OUT Meeting of the Minds Conference:
2018 MOTM Conference Sessions and Schedule

Opening Plenary Session:
The End Of The Steady State:  Annual Giving and Advancement Services in a Fast-Changing Fundraising World
John Taylor and Bob Burdenski

Well-known Crystal Apple teachers, CASE authors, listserv moderators and fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor will launch the 2018 Meeting of the Minds Conference with a rapid-fire rundown of the leading developments and issues in advancement services and annual giving fundraising today. Often in synch, occasionally in conflict, but always working in support of philanthropic goals, annual giving and advancement services offices play a critical role in advancement success.  Bob and John will provide an overview of today’s advancement landscape and offer a preview of the great conference sessions to come.

Day Two Plenary Session:
Attention Shoppers! – Thirty (More) Advancement Products And Services To Help You Do Your Job Better, Cheaper, Easier and Faster
Bob Burdenski

There are some terrific new apps, products, services, and solutions for annual giving, advancement services and donor stewardship (And he’s not allowed to repeat the list he used last year!)  Come on down and join Bob Burdenski for a rousing “Price is Right” product rundown of what-you’re-missing, which-does-what, and why they’re all worth-your-while.

Closing Plenary Session:
The Love Affair Between Annual Giving And Advancement Services (#RelationshipGoals)
Natalie Graff and Keyhan Ahmadi, Cal Poly Pomona

Do you love or hate your Annual Giving or Advancement Services counterpart? Or, maybe you just have no idea what they do all day?  Our closing plenary will give you practical tips for building a strong, trusting relationship with your colleague(s) and creating a team environment dedicated to operational and fundraising excellence.

Advancement Services Ambassadors –
How to Win Over Customers and Influence People
Jessica LaBorde and Kelly Best, UC Davis

When we rolled out our centralized gift processing system and process in 2016, we successfully implemented a new-to-us customer service model as well that hinged on a new role — the Business Relationship Manager (BRM). Our BRMs are much more than business systems analysts. They are business-to-technology interpreters, relationship builders, customer advocates, diplomats, and Scrum product owners. In other words, they are Advancement Services Ambassadors.  Join us as we talk about the BRM role, why we went with this model, and the joys and sorrows we experience(d) along the way. We will also provide tips on how you, too, can cultivate a team of Advancement Ambassadors, regardless of the size of your institution.

Activating the Advancement Cloud: How Pomona College Uses Social and Digital Insights to Measure Engagement and Inform Outreach
Kayla McCulley, Pomona College and Jacob Norlock, Evertrue

Gathering data is one thing—acting upon the right data points is another. Hear how Pomona College is tapping into key engagement and wealth indicators from social media, then leveraging these insights across the entire advancement operation to engage more alumni, better understand donor interest, and surface new prospects.  Kayla McCulley, Director of Alumni Learning and Career Programs, will walk through how Pomona gathers and analyzes key data points from traditional and digital engagement channels and has opened up access to move donors up the giving pyramid and through the engagement funnel.  Hear about the best-in-class tools Pomona College uses to monitor engagement that drives meaningful connections, pushes insights to fundraisers, and helps the team collaborate in outreach to, prospects, donors, and friends.

The Annual Giving Program Plan – Many Channels and Many Masters
Bob Burdenski, Moderator, with Peter Moes, University of Utah, Justin Ferrell, Utah Valley University, and others (TBA)

With so many channels, so much segmentation, and only so much budget, how do you effectively and efficiently construct an annual giving program plan?  A group of annual giving professionals will tell how they build — and refine — their annual giving road map.  Join the discussion about a year in the life of the annual giving program.

Build Your Prospect Pipeline for Future Campaign Success
Lo DeJanvry, UC Berkeley

Leveraging predictive donor models, automated prospect outreach, and creative new engagement opportunities to more strategically fill your leadership prospect pipeline.

Campaign Preparation – Anticipating the Unpredictable
Santiago Almaguer, University of La Verne

Pre-campaign preparations are a significant investment of time and resources for most institutions; consultants are contracted, feasibility studies are conducted and an investments in staffing are committed.  Most institutional plans revolve around the who, what and when of major gifts, events and prospect development. Join the presentation and learn from the lessons learned from this instance of campaign preparation through the lens of advancement services.  This session will be structured in an interactive format with a focus on campaign, productivity, activity and initiative reporting, staffing, templates, processes and protocol and much more.


Collaborative Advancement Services Goal Setting – How to Handle Competing and Changing Priorities without Losing your Mind
Jessica LaBorde, UC Davis

Feeling oversubscribed, overworked, over-projected? Does it seem like you can’t ever finish a project because another one suddenly becomes so much more important?  Do you have stakeholders that can’t figure out what your team is even DOING all day?  In this session, we will explore how UC Davis Advancement Services projects get chosen each fiscal year, and how this process provides both transparency and accountability to stakeholders at all levels of the organization.  We will also discuss how we address the inevitable mid-year MOST IMPORTANT PROJECT EVER that comes out of left field.  You will leave this session with practical tools to start this practice at your own institution, regardless of size or philanthropic focus.

Compliance and Culture: Defining and Evaluating Risk
Anita Lawson and Jennifer Liu-Cooper

Daily, as Advancement Services professionals, we have opportunities to implement best practices to support the oftentimes delicate balance between regulatory compliance and donor relations. Organizations define risk differently and have varying degrees of tolerance. Using actual examples, we will discuss how situations may have been resolved to further the goals of our organization and donors.

Crowdfunding, Giving Events and the Rise of Micro-sites
McCabe Callahan, Community Funded and Angela Kappus, Class Giving Officer, The Pepperdine Fund

Since the first centrally managed university platforms launched in 2012, crowdfunding has grown exponentially and is now an integral part of most institutional fundraising efforts. It’s inception ushered in a new paradigm forcing all organizations to reconsider the best methods of engaging their community in meaningful ways. Donors, similar to consumers, expect 3 things: (1) they want to trust who they are giving their money to, (2) they want their contribution to be personal and meaningful, and (3) they want it to be easy. Come learn how organizations are using crowdfunding, giving events, and micro-sites cohesively and effectively to enhance their annual strategy. Learn to engage your community in meaningful and authentic ways by empowering your community.

Data Science for Fundraising: Build Data-Driven Solutions Using “R”
Rodger Devine, USC

Learn how to describe and visualize annual giving trends;
Explore how to use predictive models for annual giving;
Explore how to generate prospect leads for leadership annual giving.

Day Of Giving And Student Engagement:
Engaging Student Leaders To Plan And Execute Campus Philanthropy Week And Giving Day Events
Chris McBride and Volunteer Poly Gives Students, Cal Poly

Last year, for Cal Poly’s first day of giving, Poly Gives, they engaged a student leader that set the framework for a student engagement and volunteers around the campus day events. This year, it expanded to include two student leaders with a committee of 10 students. They plan not only the events for the day of giving, but also a “Why Give Week” to engage and educate their peers in philanthropy. This is all their planning and development, with staff providing support to them.  Hear first-hand from student leaders about what’s necessary for success with students on your campus giving day.

Develop Your Aspirational Case for Support
Lo DeJanvry, UC Berkeley

When you connect your organization’s mission to people’s aspirations, they’re more likely to be motivated to support your work. That’s because aspirations are powerful motivators of behavior.   Lo DeJanvry will talk about how to tap into the power of aspiration by understanding people’s hopes, setting goals that speak to those aspirations, and communicating them in simple but powerful language.

Digital Communications + Leadership Donors
Cory Andersen, Snavely Associates

Leadership donors require a higher touch communication plan outside of your mass outreach cycle. Communications used with these key prospects should reveal insight into your institution’s brand, position fundraising ambitions through vivid storytelling and reflect elegant design. In the digital era, your annual giving team must seek to seamlessly present highly curated and personalized content directly to leadership donors in a quick and efficient way. We will discuss the challenges of traditional approaches and demonstrate a new digital platform called Ovrture that allows annual giving teams to share dynamic content with key prospects.

Direct Mail: It’s Not Dead!
Paul Barry, Cape Cod Mail Group

Implementing successful direct mail strategies is a challenge in a multi-channel world. Dwindling budgets and staff limitations require us to think differently but we often make choices based on what our organizations have traditionally done. Even worse, we create pieces based on what we think a recipient may respond to. If this sounds familiar, we hope you’ll enjoy this informative look at what we mail and why.

We’ll review the requirements for direct marketing success; discuss messaging and packaging, look at inexpensive ways to test while challenging the perception of what constitutes good or bad direct mail. We’ll share a simple template for effective, compelling letter writing and invite you to share your own stories of successful (or unsuccessful) appeals.

Direct Mail: Favorite Examples and Case Histories
Paul Barry, Cape Cod Mail Group

Direct mail expert Paul Barry shares his favorite favorite examples and case histories from a range of institutions.  See some of the good as well as the bad, some of the success stories as well as the learning experiences!   Paul will provide a whole bunch of ideas for your direct mail program calendar

Fixing the Leaky Bucket — Addressing Issues of Donor Attrition
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine

Your donor file has a life of its own and can be compared to a big, leaky bucket.  New donors enter your bucket with a first time gift (like filling your bucket with a hose) and, hopefully, continue to give on a recurring basis.  Unfortunately, donors often lapse in their giving (leak out the bottom of the bucket).  Lapsed donors can be reacquired (like holding a ladle under the bucket and pouring them back in) but is it worth it to do this?  Most of us understand the importance of keeping track of these donors but few of us know how to measure these statistics and what to do about it once they are known.  In 2017 and 2018, Pledgemine conducted a study across a representative sample of universities to determine what are the industry benchmarks for donor attrition.  In this session, you will learn the results of this study and how to measure donor attrition performance statistics on your own so you can see how you measure up to the industry norms.  In addition, we will give you practical and proven solutions for dealing with “at risk” segments in case you have your own problem areas.

Fresno State’s First-Ever Day of Giving: 1,100 Donors and $424,000
Patricia O’Connor and Jennifer Mariucci, Fresno State

Patricia and Jennifer tell the story of “the most successful giving day in the CSU System” — Fresno State’s first giving day this past November (11-2-17) — and talk about how they accumulated 165 social media ambassadors, 2800 hashtags, 23 million Twitter impressions, and a Facebook reach of more than 350,000.  Learn first-hand about some of their smartest strategies, lessons learned, and plans for future giving day growth.

The Future of Advancement Services
John Taylor and Panel – TBA

CASE author and advancement services expert John Taylor and a panel of advancement services colleagues look into their crystal balls to discuss what’s next in advancement services.  Alternative giving methods?  Artificial intelligence?  Join a discussion about The Things To Come in our profession.

Helping Students Answer “Why Give?”
Chris McBride with Student Philanthropy Interns Lauren Goff and Riley Brant

At Cal Poly, two student leaders and a volunteer committee of 10 students developed an innovative and robust campus event and activity plan to support Poly Gives, Cal Poly’s Day of Giving. They will highlight how “Why Give?” week engaged students in philanthropy by paying it forward, connected them with donors through stewardship efforts and increased excitement through social media contests. And how “Why Give?” connected to Poly Gives online engagement and giving from alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends.

The Intranet Evolution Revolution
Mark Longo and Anna Pruszynska-Garcia, California Institute of Technology

Is your intranet an essential portal for communication, collaboration, and integration? That was the question we asked ourselves last year at Caltech. In this session you will hear about best practices and lessons learned in designing, launching, maintaining, and improving an effective staff intranet. Join us on our journey of intranet evolution-from concept through growing pains of the first iteration to, ultimately, the new, central platform that ignited a revolution in the way we work.

Leading The Way from Annual Fund Director to Assistant Dean
Lo DeJanvry, UC Berkeley

Whether your transitioning into a new leadership role or taking on your first, come learn and discuss how to hit the ground running and lead a high-performance team to greatness!

A Look In The Advancement Mirror:
Results From RNL’s 2017 Higher Education Survey
Brian Gawor, Ruffalo Noel Levitz

Ruffalo Noel Levitz  surveyed over 1,000 fundraisers this past summer to ask new questions about annual giving best practices, digital engagement, and other advancement work to uncover the top trends for annual giving fundraisers.  Who’s using new technologies?  What are the key barriers for attracting new donors?  And what are VPs planning to do with their budgets in coming years?  We’ll also talk about the top trends in campaigns, from crowdfunding to giving day to comprehensive capital campaigns.  A statistical report on the current pulse of our profession.

The Love/Hate Relationship of Annual Fund Direct Mail
Marc Miller, MCR

In this session, you will learn Tips and Tricks for executing a successful direct mail piece from working with the vendor to selecting the perfect package to carrying your fundraising message. Segmentation and personalization are a must and in this session you will learn various ways to utilize both of these techniques while maximizing budget dollars to get the best ROI!

Managing The Leadership Giving Program:
Personnel, Prospects and Pipeline
Jennifer Dunn Greenspan, USC

Mid-Level Giving Programs
Diana Keim, City of Hope

We all have annual donors who give at a significantly higher level than the average donor. Do you know who they are? Are you treating them differently? Your Annual Giving program has incredible pipeline potential…Mid-Level is where it starts! Learn what City of Hope, a Southern California comprehensive cancer center, has learned on their continuing Mid-Level journey.

Mission, Vision, Values: Framing The Success of Your Team and Talent
Vered Siegel, Blackbaud

Every nonprofit organization has a mission, a vision, and values. These concepts help your organization explain the necessity of the work, goals, and how business is conducted. But mission, vision, and values are concepts that can help ANY team come together to frame their work. This is a collaborative workshop session – together, we will talk about how to frame our teams’ work in terms of our own departmental mission, vision, and values. We’ll brainstorm together some of the big picture concepts that help us connect our team members to our work, and then, in groups, we will each create a team mission, vision, and values for our own departments, using one-another’s expertise and great ideas. In the end, we’ll each leave ready to go back to our organizations to present this framework to our teams, and be ready to lead a session just like this one with your entire team.

Personal Solicitation and Face-to-Face Fundraising Workshop
Ray Watts, University of Redlands

Annual Giving is a dynamic and changing field, no longer solely focused on mass marketing through direct mail and student phonathons.  The “new normal” for annual giving is a team-centered approach with a group of individuals who have personal prospect portfolios and expectations of much more face-to-face identification, cultivation and solicitation work.  This workshop will be structured in an interactive format, with a focus on real-time learning and specific coaching.  Come prepared to share experiences and learn strategies and tactics to make you a better development professional as you get on the road and work with donors one-on-one.

A Phonathon Forum, Part 1
Deanna Amaya and Kelsey Crane, CSULB

Bring your best tips and your biggest frustrations to this open discussion about what’s working in the phone room.  Get some new strategies for Improving your contact rates, pledge rates, credit card rates, recurring gifts, pledge fulfillment and more.

A Phonathon Forum, Part 2
Kamalei Lee, Pitzer College

Bring your best tips and your biggest frustrations to this open discussion about what’s working in the phone room.  Get some new strategies for Improving your contact rates, pledge rates, credit card rates, recurring gifts, pledge fulfillment and more.

SHOW Me You KNOW Me: The Intimate Phonathon Connection
Rob Schlitts, Wilson-Bennett, Inc., and Grace Casian, University of LaVerne

Phonathon as we know it is evolving and proving to be just as powerful as it has ever been.   Getting creative and matching your callers and prospects up appropriately pays off.    Explore the value of becoming creative when connecting student callers and prospects.     A look into creating in-depth, impactful, and stronger links between you and your constituents.

Ten Things I Wish I Knew, Thought Of, Or Didn’t Need To Think About When Implementing Monthly Giving
Peter Moes, University of Utah

At the beginning of fiscal year 2017 the University of Utah phonathon dove head first into monthly sustaining solicitations.  We had some hesitations, such as what should we name the program and how do we brand it.  We knew some of the hurdles we’d encounter and discovered a handful of more along the way.  Currently we are running a fairly smooth sustaining giving program with 600 monthly donors and continue to look at ways to expand and refine. The University of Utah’s sustaining giving program is a joint effort between Annual Giving and Advancement Services.  During this session we will explore the practical elements of implementing a sustaining giving program, including what went well, what didn’t and what we are still trying to master at the U.

To Merge or Not to Merge: Gift Processing and Biographical Records
Gail Ferris, The George Washington University

In times of shrinking resources, it is incumbent upon advancement services managers to make the best use of the resources available to them. Fortunately, there are strongly seasonal aspects to much of our work, particularly in the gift processing and biographical records areas. This session will explore various models for “flywheeling” the capacity of these two functions, as well as the importance of appropriate cross-training to ensure the quality of the advancement data involved.

Trends in Online Giving
Tessa Burke, iModules

Online and mobile giving continues to grow year over year and should remain a top area of focus for fundraising. iModules has been reviewing online giving data for the same set of 200+ institutions over the last three years and have identified some common threads for success. In this session, we will look at the importance of email and how an easy giving process makes all the difference. Come ready to share the successes and struggles your institution has faced related to your online efforts and uncover opportunities for giving and engagement growth.

Wanted: Advancement Services Professionals
Anita Lawson, Director, Development Operations with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

In this session, we will discuss how to create opportunities for growth as advancement services practitioners. We will explore ways to increase job satisfaction, self-motivation and professional development to get to that next level.

When The Fairy Dust Settles: What Is Next For Peer-to-Peer Fundraising? 
Carola Maier, City of Hope

Whilst most charities have added do-it-yourself peer-to-peer fundraising to their portfolio by now, few have mastered the challenge of integrating peer-to-peer into their existing annual giving program. How do we create long-term engagement for DIY peer-to-peer donors and fundraisers and how do we cultivate peer-to-peer donors and fundraisers to increase their LTV? Whilst this session does not claim to provide the answers for all, it will showcase how City of Hope’s Office of Philanthropy is taking on the challenge.

Where Are We Now? The Ups and Downs of 21st Century Digital Giving and Engagement
Kestrel Linder, Co-founder and CEO, GiveCampus

Giving days. Crowdfunding. Peer-to-peer fundraising… Words that were foreign to most of us five years ago are now ubiquitous and becoming central components of many advancement teams’ strategic plans. Why? Because the writing is on the wall: an increasing number of today’s donors and virtually all of tomorrow’s donors and prospective donors live online, on social media, and on mobile devices. If we don’t meet them in those channels and engage them in a manner that they enjoy and want to repeat, educational fundraising will suffer for decades to come. Indeed, the prospective first-time donors of today are the major donors of tomorrow. The stakes for acquiring and retaining these donors have never been higher. And the competition for donors’ time and attention has never been stiffer.  Painted against a backdrop of data drawn from the digital fundraising efforts of 500 educational institutions (both K-12 and higher ed) and encompassing more than $150 million in online giving by more than 1.5 million donors, this presentation will take stock of where we are and what we’ve learned over the last five years, as an increasing number of institutions have significantly expanded their digital fundraising and engagement efforts with a variety of new approaches and models.

Your Alumni Are Texting. Are You?
Emily Neigel, Relay

Are your phonathon calls going straight to voicemail? Are your email click rates steadily declining?  Why not try texting? In an era of information overload, annual giving programs are implementing person-to-person texting programs to break through the noise and reach their alumni. Attend this session to learn about how P2P texting is producing exciting results for engagement, giving days and pledge reminders at several institutions.