2019 Session Descriptions

Opening Plenary Session:
Be Mindful:  All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss…
Welcome, Introductions and Conference Highlights
Bob Burdenski and John Taylor, Conference co-Chairs

Well-known Crystal Apple teachers, CASE authors, listserv moderators, and fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor will launch the 2019 Meeting of the Minds Conference with a festive welcome and a rapid-fire rundown of their favorite advancement services and annual giving conference sessions and speakers to follow. Often in sync, occasionally in conflict,  but always working in support of philanthropic goals, annual giving and advancement services offices, these play a critical role in advancement success.  Join Bob and John as they provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come.

Closing Plenary Session:
A Closing Crystal Ball – What Just Happened and What’s Ahead?
Bob Burdenski and John Taylor, Conference co-Chairs

John and Bob will end the 2019 Meeting of the Minds Conference with their annual rundown of the top issues, trends and challenges facing our fundraising profession.  They’ll offer their predictions on what we’ll be facing by the time next year’s conference rolls around, and what’s even further on the horizon for annual giving and advancement services.  A festive send-off to celebrate a great conference.

Five at Four:  An Annual Giving Roundtable
Bob Burdenski (Moderator)
Alex Popescu, Whittier College, Mary Hartsfield, Stanislaus State University; Torrey Hood, University of Nevada, Reno; and Molly Widdicombe, University of Redlands (Panel Members)

An end-of-the-day panel discussion about all annual giving topics, including phonathons, Facebook, data privacy, alumni giving participation, the 1%, and much more!

Networking For Advancement:  How to Win at Tonight’s Reception
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

Annual giving and advancement services professionals sometimes prefer (and frankly, may be best-suited to) closing the door to their offices and producing gift appeals and gift reports.  However, many of us are challenged (and required) in our work to meet and network with donors, prospects, colleagues and others in public settings.  Networking is both an art and a science, and it’s a valuable skill for any role in today’s fundraising world.  You don’t have to be a “people person” to maximize your “strategic networking experience,” and you might even have more fun too!  Learn how to “work the room”; fundraising-forward and agony-free, and put some new tips into practice at the conference welcome reception that immediately follows.

*NEW: Podcasts on the Patio
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving and Brian Gawor, RNL

Join Bob and Brian for a different conference experience as they enjoy some two-on-one chats with conference speakers, sponsors, and other attendees.  Learn about their annual giving programs, strategies, and solutions — and you’re welcome to join in!   Have a laugh and learn a few things too, in a relaxed atmosphere outside on the Kellogg Conference Center patio.

Prospect Management:
Portfolio Prioritization and Analysis, and Pipeline Development

Armik Allen, California Lutheran University

It’s one thing to find prospects, and another to research them. Then what? Far too often these valuable leads get lost in the shuffle. Join Armik, a national expert in the field of prospect development, as she shows you how to:
• Evaluate portfolio capacity
• Focus fundraisers on cultivating the right prospects
• Devise tools that tell you where and how to deploy fundraising resources
• Forecast fundraising results with pinpoint accuracy

Self-Service Business Intelligence Dashboards
Armik Allen, California Lutheran University

Bring out your inner data artist! Create graphs, charts, and other visual tools to explain complex data to fundraisers, advancement management, and volunteer boards. In this session Armik will show you how your strategies and statistics can be streamlined so that your organization’s productivity can soar!

A Phonathon Forum
Deanna Amaya, California State University, Long Beach
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.

Stewardship That Moves You: Using Video To Nail Acknowledgements
J.D. Beebe, co-Founder and CEO, ThankView

So much of fundraising focuses on raising funds (no duh!) but what about stewarding your donors? Join ThankView CEO JD Beebe as he explores how video can be harnessed not only to make your acknowledgments more immediate and meaningful, but help you tell better stories and retain more donors. Part trendspotting, part show-and-tell, and part roll-up-your-sleeves strategy, JD hopes to give attendees actionable next steps to supercharge their stewardship.

How to Write a WINNING CASE Award Submission
Kelly Best, University of California, Davis

Have you always wanted to nominate a project for a CASE award, but weren’t sure where to start or what to write? Not sure how likely it is that your project will win? Tasked with nominating a project that is not your own? Join Kelly as she breaks down her method for crafting the submission packets that have won 11 consecutive CASE awards for the University of California – from District VII Bronze to Global Platinum.  In addition to sharing her “winning” formula, Kelly will also give you a rundown of the different award programs and provide take-away tools to help strategize your writing, no matter your role in the project.  More demonstration than prescription, this presentation honors individual writing styles, while also offering some universal truths (and feelings) about how to bring all the “wow!” and medal magnetism to this ubiquitous yet unique-to-advancement communication product.

What’s Next For Giving Days – A Giving Day Forum
Sean Briner, CSU San Marcos

CSU San Marcos 2018 Giving Day, held on Giving Tuesday, raised nearly double the gift revenue ($448,000) and more than doubled the number of donors (1,400) over CSUSM’s 2017 Giving Day results.  Sean Briner will give an overview of how CSUSM managed its strong Giving Day growth, and will facilitate a discussion about what’s next for giving days.   Bring your giving day success stories, challenges, questions, and predictions for the future.

Affinity-Based Fundraising to the Rescue!
Kelli Bronson and Chelsea Speer, Whittier College

Has alumni participation remained flat, or even declined, at your institution? Consider increasing your focus on affinity groups: couples, athletes, fraternities. We know that life changing experiences draw alumni back to the institution, and we’ll share how we used these experiences to create new fundraising opportunities. In this session, Kelli and Chelsea will discuss our tactics, successes and challenges, and lessons learned along the way.

Creating a Culture of Engagement and Giving
Tessa Burke, iModules

Research shows that engagement leads to giving and helps to build your potential donor base. 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 relationship between alumni engagement and giving while sharing examples of email marketing, events, and online giving campaigns. Come ready to share the successes and struggles your institution has faced related to your digital engagement efforts and uncover opportunities for giving and engagement growth.

Strategic Communications:  Leadership Practices for Successful Change Management
Wayne Combs

In this session, join Wayne to explore communication strategies that leaders use to successfully navigate change in their organizations. Learn to identify the components for building a strategic communications plan and how to develop a communications map for understanding the dynamics, strengths and weakness in an organization’s structure. These practices are not limited to epic changes, such as reorganizations and system conversions, but also for new policies that may impact culture and staff motivation.

Leading The Way:  Transitioning From Individual Contributor to Leader
Laurent “Lo” DeJanvry, University of California, 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!

Building Your Prospect Pipeline for Future Campaign Success
Laurent “Lo” DeJanvry, University of California, Berkeley

In this session, join Lo to learn how to leverage predictive donor models, automate prospect outreach, and create new engagement opportunities to  strategically fill your leadership prospect pipeline.

Things To Know, and Things To Forget:  The Fast-Changing Fundraising World of Digital Audiences, Data Privacy and GDPR (OMG)
Rodger Devine, University of Southern California
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

For several years, Bob Burdenski has shared stories at MOTM about the data privacy laws that have impacted annual giving fundraising in the UK and Europe.  Now, California has a new data privacy law; the U.S. Congress is holding hearings about data privacy legislation; and overseas annual giving continues to be significantly impacted by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).  At the same time, Facebook and the rest of the digital domain have opened new audience identification and prospect segmentation possibilities.  What opportunities should you think about, and what new and potential restrictions do you need to know about?  Join Bob and USC business intelligence guru Rodger Devine for an update on the laws, the legislation, the ethics, the headlines, the public opinion, and the horizon for data privacy and annual giving fundraising.

An Alumni Engagement Forum
Gretchen Dobson, Ed.D., Academic Assembly, Inc.

This facilitated discussion about “all things alumni” will start off with a few assumptions and questions:
1) Our alumni are more mobile and global – somewhat a moving target. What are best practices for engaging our international alumni?
2) Our data management practices are insufficient. How can we improve our ability to track, qualify and manage these valuable data sets?
3) Our Advancement shops are not as aligned as they could be with other departments and Schools who engage alumni as volunteers. What are the pro’s and cons’ for more centralization?
With over 26 years experience of strategic alumni relations management, both at home and abroad, Dr. Gretchen Dobson will get the conversation going and invite participants to respond and share additional questions and best practices.

Engaging Constituents Abroad:  What to do in Advance, What to Know on the Road
Gretchen Dobson, Ed.D., Academic Assembly, Inc.

Internationalization – or Globalization – on campuses around the world is an opportunity for an integrated engagement strategy that supports international student and scholar recruitment; international academic partnerships; and the development of key regions where international alumni and friends are engaged in sustainable, meaningful, and relevant ways. Alumni, donors, institutional partners, and other allies need to understand your institution’s international story. That story is best told by traveling abroad.  This interactive session is based upon Gretchen’s book, The International Travel Handbook: Engaging Constituents Abroad (Academic Impressions, 2014). In this session, she will review four key areas for successfully doing business abroad: assessing preparedness, advance preparation principles, volunteer management, and going global with events and campaign planning. This session aims to educate, inform, and motivate best practices abroad.

Showcasing Your Value:  Prospect Development as a Revenue Generator in the Age of Big Data
Nathan Fay, City of Hope

With increased awareness of the value and pivotal role that data plays in philanthropy organizations across the globe, more and more shops are investing in their dataverses to increase organizational effectiveness and bring more dollars in the door. In order to manage this endeavor, there is an arising need for someone at the table who understands the organization’s data and can translate that into revenue through delivering actionable intelligence that is digestible to senior leadership and development professionals. Historically underrepresented at the AVP and VP levels, prospect development is currently being invited more and more to the table. Come hear about Nathan’s journey from researcher to senior leadership and learn how to position yourself and your shop to receive an invitation to the table.

Adamant Adversaries to Problem-Solving Partners:
An Advancement Services and Annual Giving Tale
Becky Ferguson, Meg Padovani, and Michelle Poesy, University of California, Davis

Do you feel like your advancement services shop doesn’t understand you? Do you feel like your annual giving team needs too much? We understand. The annual giving team at UC Davis have been there and they are here to tell you your differences ARE reconcilable. Annual giving and advancement services at UC Davis came to a critical point where advancement services was tired and annual giving needs weren’t being met. Becky, Meg and Michelle are here to share their top down approach where unit leadership worked together to understand the priorities and challenges on both sides. Through a lot of listening and discussion, their top down approach allowed them to change not only the way they thought, but also implement technical solutions to change the way they work.

In this session, Becky, Meg and Michelle will also share their technical developments which moved them from manually manipulating thousands of rows in spreadsheets, lacking accuracy, and an ability to deliver on-time to a space with flexibility for many segments and expansion into 85% of their 800,000-entity database. They had to have their technology back their “more-is-more” approach to data delivery and they built a web application where no VLOOKUP has gone before:  The Annual Fund Toolkit.

What is it About International Data That Makes it So Darn Difficult?
Amanda Garvin-Adicoff, University of California, Davis

Is your international data a mess? Do you have trouble using it to organize events, send mail, or reach donors over the phone? Are you afraid to clean your data for fear that you’ll just make it worse? In this session, Amanda will discuss what she and her team learned from their journey towards cleaner international data and how they made it available and consumable for the customers who need it the most. She will also discuss why cleaning international data is so important and which vendors can help you clean it the best. You will leave this session with practical tools for improving your valuable data, letting go of what isn’t important, and figuring out which is which.

How to Amplify Your Millennial Giving
Brian Gawor, Ruffalo Noel Levitz

For many organizations, giving really lags for donors in their 20’s. We hear about the impact of real issues for our millennial donors: from high student debt, to rejection of large institutions, to a focus on more exciting causes. How can we adapt to a changing giving generation and really excite young donors to join us in annual and major giving? It is possible, because this is one of the most cause-oriented generations—they just do things differently. Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s study of over 1 million young alumni – their giving behaviors, preferences and consumer behavior can help. Join Brian to learn about the ways to excite and delight your young donors and alumni to give more, and more often.

Creating Successful Micro-Funding Strategies for Improving Annual Giving Results
Howard Heevner, University of California, Santa Cruz

Giving days have bloomed across the country.  Schools of all size now participate in these days and these days have the ability to dramatically impact the outcomes of your fundraising efforts. In this session, we will look at the various models of giving days and a decision making criteria on what model might work for your institution. We will also review the impact of a micro-strategy giving day and subsequent giving weeks to drive growth in all types of donors at UC Santa Cruz.

Two Guys with Beards: Annual Planning for the Digital Frontier
Howard Heevner, University of California, Santa Cruz
McCabe Callahan, Community Funded

Join McCabe Callahan from Community Funded and Howard Heevner from UC Santa Cruz as they conduct a workshop that will help you outline the foundational elements necessary to create a holistic, comprehensive, digital annual engagement and fundraising strategy. In this session we will help you to identify your current digital initiatives, brainstorm new ideas, identify and map key stakeholders to various initiatives, identify challenges and roadblocks (and how to overcome them), create annual initiatives calendar, and solidify other key pieces of your “digital-first” (not digital-only) annual strategy.

Matching Gift Magic at UC Davis
Michele Hicks and Morgan Jandreau, UC Davis

A solid matching gift program can be an excellent way to add to your fundraising totals, but it is often overlooked or just plain loathed. And there is little wonder why — from the time it takes to receive funds to the non-standardized data provided by the fulfillment companies, matching gift management can be rife with prohibitive complexity. That was the case at UC Davis until we worked process improvement into our program. In this session we explore strategies to improve portal management, gift verification, and donor communication. We will also share the tools and excel macros we developed to facilitate fee calculations. This session will have something for everyone, no matter where you are in your matching gift program. Join us!

A Leadership Annual Giving Forum
Chere Hooks and Nick Kennedy, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

In this session, Chere and Nick will provide an overview of the USC Dornsife leadership annual giving program and facilitate a discussion of all things leadership giving.  Discussions will include: How are your prospects selected?  How do you secure appointments?   What’s the conversation agenda?  What materials do you use, if any?  Is there a direct marketing component to your leadership giving program?   And what’s the stewardship?  Bring your best questions, your success stories, and your leadership annual giving ideas to this discussion.

Anatomy of a Direct Mail Program
Diana Keim, City of Hope

City of Hope has a complex direct mail program that includes everything from tote bags to newsletters to mid-level giving prospectus mailings, to corporate-sponsored matching gift challenges and a lot in between.  Learn how a non-educational institution approaches direct mail as a fundraising channel, and bring your own direct mail questions and success stories too.

A Crowdfunding Forum
Ryan Lawrence, University of California, Berkeley

In this session, Ryan Lawrence will provide an overview of UC Berkeley’s enormous — and enormously-successful — crowdfunding program, and will moderate a discussion of your crowdfunding questions, strategies and solutions.   Come and hear how Berkeley has raised more than $1 million for projects across campus, and bring your own crowdfunding success stories or frustrations!  Whether crowdfunding is an established part of your fundraising program, or your’re giving it some thought, come and hear from a group how crowdfunding fits into their fundraising goals.

If You Can’t Reach ‘Em, Text ‘Em!
Ryan Lawrence, University of California, Berkeley
Emily Neigel, Relay

In an era of information overload, you likely find yourself in constant competition for your alumni’s attention. In this session, UC Berkeley’s Associate Director of Digital Philanthropy, Ryan Lawrence, and Emily Neigel, Higher Ed Manager at Relay will discuss how P2P texting can help you meet alumni where they are at– on their cell phones!

A Paperless Office: Tips and Tricks
Anita Lawson and Michael Cocks, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Come hear how the development operations team at the L.A. Philharmonic is having a positive impact across the organization with their cost and time-saving initiatives to go paperless.

Leveraging Wealth and Giving Screening Results for Powerful Annual Giving Strategies
Jennifer Liu-Cooper, Donor Search

In today’s day and age, we have access to more information and new databases than ever before. We have better resources, improved technology and more industry knowledge. So, how do we take advantage of all of this powerful data to leverage screening results? In this session we will talk about the benefits of batch screening results and how they surface key indicators of donor loyalty, capacity and giving interests. By applying industry accepted concepts about annual donor characteristics in combination with screening data attendees will learn how to efficiently target the prospect pools with the greatest potential for sustained support.

This session will also cover the key indicators of annual giving potential and how DonorSearch calculates an Annual Fund likelihood score using internal and external variables to identify prospects or donors that are most likely to give through an annual fund campaign. Attendees will discover how to refine their screening results and build robust and actionable Annual Fund prospect portfolios using the data they already have.

Key Objectives:
-Defining who are potential annual giving donors
-Key indicators of donor loyalty, capacity and giving interests
-How to screen data efficiently and find the top results for sustained support
-Top Indicators of annual giving potential
-How to refine and efficiently build an actionable Annual Fund Strategy

Breaking Through to New Audiences:  Increasing Participation Through Peer Engagement
Felicity Meu, GiveCampus

The days when donors would send a check simply based on their institutional loyalty are fading. Today’s donors (millennials especially) want to know that their gift is making an impact and that they are part of a community helping to move the institution forward. Felicity Meu will illuminate the case study against a backdrop of data drawn from the digital fundraising of 550+ schools (K-12 and higher ed) and encompassing more than $150 million in online giving by more than 1.5 million donors.

Dig Deep to Elevate Your Message
Christina Nichols, MCR (Marketing Communication Resource, Inc.)

In this highly interactive session, Christina will help you dig into your institution’s “why” to elevate the message you use to solicit support. Attendees will walk away with a useful tool for digging into the story(ies) they tell.

Peer-To-Peer Text Messaging:  Your New Favorite Annual Giving Solicitation Channel?
Jean Pembleton, Hustle

Open rates and contact rates for email and direct mail continue to drop. Phone calls go ignored. But over 90% of text messages are read.  Attend this session to learn how learn how schools across the country are using Hustle’s P2P text messaging to power giving days, drive attendance at events, steward donors, and engage constituents around fiscal and calendar year end. We will explore the methodologies used by annual giving teams to implement P2P texting, and will cover how to incorporate texting into an omni-channel solicitation strategy. The session is best suited for alumni relations and development professionals looking for opportunities to reach annual donors of all ages (Millennial, GenX, and Baby Boomer) through P2P texting.

“Right-Sizing” Your Phonathon Program
Rob Schlitts, Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc.

As the world of telephone fundraising evolves so should your strategy/game plan for your Phonathon. At one point in time, there was a “one-size fits all” model that proved to be a great success at most institutions, but is now proving to be a thing of the past.  Join Rob to learn about how each institution needs to focus on building a program that is customized to fit the specific goals (donors/dollars) of their phone program.

Using Your Call Center to Qualify Leads for Gift Officer Portfolios
Mary Stivender, University of California, Berkeley

Looking for new ways to leverage your calling program?  UC Berkeley has started an Annual Fund Qualification program that engages experienced student callers in qualification phone calls with specially selected donors.  Join Mary to learn about how initial contact is made via an email campaign (where donors indicate their interest). Then learn about how students take the time on calls to engage, listen, and capture the donor’s interests and create a personal connection that results in immediate gifts or referrals to gift officers.

DIY Volunteers and 3rd-Party Event Fundraising:  A Case Study
Emily Parris Sandler, City of Hope
Tyler Varing, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Join Emily  and Tyler as they discuss the benefits of a robust DIY fundraising program. They’ll explore the keys to success for 3rd party events through examining the Varing Classic, a 3rd-party event benefiting City of Hope. As a professional fundraiser, but also a 3rd party event organizer, Tyler will offer a unique perspective on what it takes to successfully organize and execute a 3rd party event. Together Emily and Tyler will discuss how institutions can best support event organizers.

What Does it Mean to be an Advancement Services Professional?
John Taylor (Host)
Wayne Combs, Anita Lawson, and Jessica Schrider LaBorde (Panel Members)

Join four current AASP Board members (2 of which were Board Presidents) in a discussion regarding the advancement services profession. More specifically, they will discuss the evolution they have observed of the profession since its creation nearly 30 years ago. Especially germane to the discussion will be a review of AS leadership characteristics, professional development, and educational backgrounds desirable (essential?) to succeed in this profession going forward. Come pick their brains (what’s left of them) since they have “been around the block” a few times in this critical profession.

Managing Our Expectations toward Millennials
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine and Kamalei Lee, Pitzer College

We all face the problem of a shrinking and aging donor file and our bosses are telling us to do something about it by reaching out to younger donors.  But what should our expectations from these donors be?  Learn about a 2018 study to determine the giving habits of the various different generational groups (i.e. Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, etc.) and what we should be expecting from our own donors.  Also learn how the Pitzer College (and other MOTM institutions) are attracting young alumni through effective and proven direct marketing strategies.

Fundamentals of Personal Solicitation and Face-to-Face Fundraising 
Pam Jones-Tintle, Pitzer College

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.

Crafting a Story that Inspires
Lynne Wester, Donor Relations Guru

We all know about the power of a good story in fundraising, but why are they so powerful? What is it about the human brain and how it works that makes a story so critical to the decision-making process? In this session, Lynne will teach you about structuring and crafting your stories to create more engaging and emotionally compelling stories that will grab your donors and supporters. You’ll also learn how to find stories and create compelling characters that your donors will fall in love with and want to support. Come hear about how the fine art of creating compelling stories will forward the mission of your organization.

What is the Donor Experience Like with your Online Site?
Lynne Wester, Donor Relations Guru

You probably spend most of your time thinking about developing compelling campaigns on and offline, finding new ways to engage supporters, and maintaining relationship with donors. The design and content of your online giving site is probably the last on your list. Yet, studies have shown that a well-optimized donation page can help you convert visitors into donors. Join Lynne as she examines the Live Online Giving Challenge! Bring your URL and a sense of humor as you and Lynne (and the rest of the session attendees) attempt to make gifts together to see what the “donor experience” is really like!

Reunion Class Giving:  Why do it?
Molly Widdicombe and Alison Roedl, University of Redlands

At the University of Redlands, the reunion class giving effort has been a consistent driver of increased annual gifts. Together, alumni relations and annual giving provide the 5th through the 65th milestone reunions with a dedicated staff member for reunion planning. An additional gift officer is paired with the 25th, 45th, 50th and 55th milestones. This coordinated effort results in consistently higher participation rates for class gifts. In this session Molly and Alison will explore their best practices, worst nightmares and their newest concept – Bulldogs of the Last Decade – as a method of engagement for graduates between 2009-2018.