2022 Conference Sessions

Speakers are unlikely to change, but they might. We’re going to have more than 30 sessions at this year’s MOTM Conference, so check back as we update the content…

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 with
Dan Montplaisir, Vice President for Advancement, Cal Poly Pomona

Well-known Crystal Apple teachers, CASE authors, listserv moderators, and fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor launch the 2022 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, lovingly in conflict,  and always working in support of philanthropic goals, annual giving and advancement services offices play a critical role in advancement success.  Join Bob and John as they provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come, and hear a special welcome from our sponsors.

Actionable Insights – Next Steps in Fundraising and Alumni Relations
Brad Tsai, Caroline Chang, and Karen Latora, UC Innovation

By leveraging UC Innovation’s expertise in relationship management, fundraising, and engagement with Tableau CRM and Einstein Discovery, ascend AI delivers actionable insights to support each institution’s mission. Learn about some of the discoveries they’ve uncovered through Engagement Insights, Giving Insights, and Predictive Model Discovery.

The Advancement Services Help Desk
Panel TBA

Dashboards, pronouns, cryptocurrency, remote work and more. Want some ideas answers and solutions from your peers? Or maybe just some therapy? Get your morning cup and join us for a rundown of advancement services discussion topics – and add your own. It’s such a great way to start your advancement services day.

Business Intelligence and Annual Giving
Rodger Devine, Pomona College with Lily Barger, UC Riverside, Juli Nguyen, USC and Other Panelists TBA

“Business intelligence” has become a function and a skillset in many advancement operations, and annual giving can be one of its biggest customers and beneficiaries. From participation goals to pipeline goals, business intelligence can help maximize the success and efficiency of them all. Rodger will convene a panel of “business intelligence” advancement practitioners to talk about their day-to-day work and the benefits for annual giving and the rest of the advancement office.

The Case For (Gulp!) Multiple Giving Days
Ryan Lawrence, UC Berkeley

You’ve become a Jedi master at conducting your giving day, and your campus colleagues are a textbook example of everyone “rowing in the right direction.” Are you reaching your full fundraising potential only running your giving day playbook once a year? Perennial Meeting of the Minds stellar speaker Ryan Lawrence heads a digital team at UC Berkeley, and will make the argument for “thematic” giving days that occur multiple times a year and are a hybrid of crowdfunding and giving day strategies. In addition, he’ll talk about Berkeley’s increasing use of giving day strategies for quick response fundraising needs. (How do you launch a giving campaign in 36 hours?) Always informative, engaging and enthusiastic, see how Ryan and his team are strategically replicating the giving day cycle at UC Berkeley.

The Changing Advancement Services Structure –
What Models Work (or Don’t)?
John Taylor, moderator, with Panel TBA

Join a panel to discuss the evolving org chart of advancement services. Some units deal only with gifts and data, while others may include prospect development, communications, IT — and even annual giving. Bring your model and your insights as we discuss what works well, what doesn’t, and where (we think) the future lies!

Class-Based Fundraising and Reunion Engagement: Pandemic Edition
Kerry Brooke Steere, Claremont McKenna College,
Laura Wensley, Pomona College and Kevin Barry, Mount St. Mary’s University

Is it the best of times, or the worst of times for class-based fundraising and engagement? In-person events remain a challenge, but alumni are more connected than ever before, and our multi-channel world offers more ways to identify affinity, invite involvement, and sustain alumni relationships – with the institution and each other. Join a discussion about how old class engagement and fundraising goals get achieved in today’s ever-changing world.

The Climb: Career Pathways in Advancement
Shalonda Martin EdD, USC

How do you get to that next step? What is the next step? Is a pivot possible? These are just some of the questions that riddle us as we evaluate our career journey. Some may think of the great resignation as a means for career advancement, but there are a variety of career advancement options within Advancement. The important work we do can be more than just a job; it can be a career that provides us with tremendous growth opportunity. Join Shalonda for a discussion about traditional and non-traditional career pathways, techniques to advance, and how to identify resources to aid your career trajectory.

Data Analytics & Prospect Research Utilizing Student Experience Data
Kevin Decker, San Diego State University

Our institutions sit on a treasure trove of student experience information, and prospect development and fundraising analytics teams are gaining access to new and exciting data sources. What activities were alumni most involved in as students (1,2,3,4)? Who were their favorite instructors? Who completed your senior survey on the day they graduated and said they “planned to stay connected?” Are there correlations between types of activities and future affinity? A satisfying student experience and future giving? Learn how SDSU has discovered some relationships between past (student) experience and present (and future) affinity. What if any use does this new data have in predicting donor behavior? This session will explore an analytics project conducted using data from CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025 to determine if data points from a student’s experience are relevant in identifying alumni donors within a larger constituent population.

Data Security as Service: A UC Davis Case Study
Becky Frantz PhD and Simon Nim, UC Davis

After recent system-wide policy changes, UC Davis Advancement Services had to undertake some significant changes to their data security processes and protocols. Join Becky Frantz PhD and Simon Nim as they discuss how they solved urgent data security issues across multiple systems and the important role that Advancement Services plays in keeping fundraising data safe and secure. They will offer their risk mitigation strategies and solutions and share how a service mindset can foster data security best practices.

Direct Mail Recipes – Add Spice to All Your Channels
Christina Brandel, CFRE, Marketing Communication Resource, Inc.

Stuck in an appeal rut? Want to spice things up but can’t seem to find the right recipe that pulls in all your favorite channels? Join in a conversation about how to use your favorite “ingredients” to spice up all your appeals.

Elevate your Giving Days with P2P texting
Ryan Lawrence, UC Berkeley and Rachel Cleary, GetThru

Tis the season for giving days! You’ve got your email and social copy prepared, your match challenges and crowdfunding campaigns are ready to roll, and your campus stakeholders are engaged and ready to support…but there’s one extra step you want to make sure to take to ensure your donors see and engage with your messaging. Texting! Join Ryan Lawrence (UC Berkeley) and Rachel Cleary (GetThru) for a discussion on the hows and whys of taking your giving days to the next level with texting. We’ll start with an overview of how to build the foundation for your texting program, and then take a deep dive into how Ryan’s team weaves P2P texting into giving days and fundraising communications throughout the year. If you’ve ever hoped to learn how it’s possible to raise six figures via text campaigns, this is your chance to find out!

Everything Has Changed: A Revolutionary New Approach to Advancement
Scott Williams and Colleen Cook, Vinyl Marketing

What if you woke up one day and discovered that your home was sitting on an oil well large enough that, once tapped, would provide for you and your family for generations. Would you drill? Of course you would. It would be unthinkable not to. Your institution is currently sitting on a wealth of data. It’s just sitting there, unused, untapped, collecting dust. And we want to invite you to learn how to drill into this resource that will change the trajectory of your institution, no matter its size.

The Evolution from Phonathon to Digital Engagement: Material Shift…
Or More of the Same?
Rachel Spencer, VanillaSoft

There is widespread consensus within the higher ed. fundraising community that the “old school” approach to phonathons is broken, ineffective…and maybe even a waste of time. But, while it’s true that things need to evolve and change, and the ‘transactional’ approach to fundraising has to stop, is simply rebranding your “call center” as a “digital engagement center” the answer? Will approaching your alumni via a multitude of channels, rather than phone alone, serve to truly engage? Or does it risk backfiring and alienating your alumni population further? Does the great phonathon rebrand, and the rise of the “digital engagement center” actually effect a material change in strategy, approach and results? Or is it merely a relabelling of the same? Join this provocative session to find out (!!!)

Fundamentals of Personal Solicitation and (More-or-Less)
Face-to-Face Fundraising 
Ray Watts, Claremont McKenna 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.

The New Career Services: Helping Students, Grads, and Alumni Launch & Lead Successful Careers in a Post Pandemic Employment Market!
Don Philabaum, CEO, TalentMarks

Richard Bolles, author of the enormously successful career book, “What Color is Your Parachute?,” once said, “A working alum is a giving alum!” We’ll look at turnkey career, and professional development strategies that will help your admissions team enroll more students, your alumni staff increase alumni satisfaction and engagement, and your annual giving and advancement team not only increase the number of alumni and parents who give but the frequency they give! You will learn why giving rates will be tied to the post-pandemic employment market.

Making Sense of Events – How to Pay Attention to Who’s Attending
Anthony R. Williams and Amanda Garvin-Adicoff, UC Davis

Do you struggle to find meaning in your events and activity data? Are you trying to track event impact without getting lost in a sea of RSVPs? Join Anthony R. Williams and Amanda Garvin-Adicoff as they discuss how they helped the Cal Aggie Alumni Association make sense of their event data and create a dashboard that provides accurate, timely, and actionable insights at a glance. During this session, we will cover the customer’s impetus for requesting this project, and what key indicators we decided to track and why. We will demo the Power BI dashboard we built on Ellucian Advance data, providing not only technical insights into how to build one of your own, but also a recap of what we learned about our data from this project. You’ll walk away from this session inspired to put your events data to work for you, with an understanding of how to structure your data to provide the most meaningful insights, and with the tools you need to build your own events dashboard in Power BI.

Measuring Performance and Productivity in Advancement Services
Armik Allen, California Lutheran University

As critical as our function is to any Advancement organization, far too often Advancement Services is overlooked.  Often this is because others do not know or understand what we do.  Sometimes it is because people believe that what we do is “automatic.”  In this session, we will discuss the critical roles and functions of an Advancement Services department.  We will then explore ways to monetize our work and learn how to highlight the difference we are making.

An Organizational Culture of Experimentation: Connecting the Dots
Rodger Devine EdD, Pomona College

Organizational culture remains a critical component of developing a high performing advancement team, but it can be challenging to build talent, capacity, and learning while navigating change. Drawing on diverse research concepts and evidence-based approaches, attendees at all career levels will learn how design thinking, creativity, and growth mindset tools, among others, can help them effectively respond to change, find solutions and generate innovative capabilities.

The Prospect’s View: The Importance of Self-Awareness in Fundraising
Marina Tan Harper PhD, University of California, Davis

As you go about your work in relationship-building, face-to-face meetings, segmentation, copywriting, materials design, and solicitations, are you thinking about these things from the eyes and minds of the potential donor? In this session, you learn about presenting your institutional priorities and areas of excellence in the context of what’s on the ground, i.e., telling the story from the donor/prospects’ eyes. You will also learn how to show respect for norms in a different cultural heritage, including the nuances that bridge the “heart” over “head” in your solicitations to constituencies where relationship before business. Dr. Marina Harper was a stellar first-time speaker at the 2021 Meeting of the Minds Conference, and she returns with some new insights about mindfulness in fundraising.

Project Management for Development Professionals
Amy Hanson & Mark Longo, Caltech

The fundamental goal of project management is to produce the desired results, on time and on budget. In this session, two development professionals who utilize project management skills in their day-to-day work will share how to successfully manage any project while eliminating bureaucracy and red tape. Topics covered will include:
• key terminology
• project management phases and the project manager’s role in each phase
• tools and techniques for effective project management
• how to create a project plan and prepare for the project kickoff meeting
Participants will leave this session with essential project management skills that can be applied immediately to advance their development careers!

Segments of One” – The Art of Personalized Communication
Kristine Barker, La Sierra University
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine

Picture this: Donor communication as personal as a living room conversation. Pieces whose stories resonate, convey a genuine thank you, congratulate milestones, and ultimately increase giving. Join Kristine Barker from the La Sierra University and Jonathan Van Oss of Pledgemine as they show you how you can treat your donors as “Segments of One”.

Showing Annual Giving Donors the Love:
Where Stewardship Meets Scale
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving and Lucy Moore, Queensland University of Technology (Australia)

It’s a session that spans two hemispheres, as Lucy joins Bob live from “Down Under” to discuss the challenges and opportunities of annual giving donor stewardship. Annual giving “appreciation” used to mean a prompt thank you letter and “see-you-next-year.” But giving data have confirmed the importance of retaining the donors you already have, and our multi-channel world has opened new cost-effective methods of showing appreciation and giving donors hugs throughout the year. Bob and Lucy will share a global collection of effective giving pages, personal thank you videos, digital impact reports, online satisfaction surveys and more, and will show how institutions are successfully turning high-volume gift transactions into philanthropic relationships – without exhausting the team and breaking the budget. Crikey!

The Tenth Giving Day – Re-Energizing, Rejuvenating and Recalibrating Goals, Plans, Methods and Outcomes
Kamalei Lee, Pitzer College

Pitzer College has solved many giving day riddles over the ten-year history of its Giving Tuesday giving day: How to incorporate engagement as a goal and a metric? How to differentiate Pitzer’s case for support on a day saturated with other giving messages? How to maximize efficiency with the right online tools and time-saving solutions? Join Meeting of the Minds stellar speaker Kamalei Lee for a discussion about giving days 2.0 – growing your giving day beyond the basics.

Theoretical Chickens: Small Gifts in the Big Picture
Emily Berry, Emilie Davis, and Spencer K. Izor, Miami University

Can university fundraisers and donor relations officers adapt the goats and chickens model to scholarships and professorships? Okay, so we’re a university. We don’t have chickens. Or goats. Or cows. But you’ve probably heard or received those solicitations from other charities. Sure, you know your money may not actually be going to purchase THAT specific goat for THAT particular family, but the illusion is a great way to ask you for a gift, and it gives you an idea of its actual impact, whether large or small.

Thirty Years of FundList: The Greatest Samples Ever Shared
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

Public use of email began in the 1990s. Not long after, (in 1992) the first online fundraising forum began as a listserv at Johns Hopkins University. For the first time, fundraisers could immediately exchange questions, answers and therapy with each other. Celebrating its 30th year, FundList has thousands of current members and hundreds-of-thousands of alumni. Bob has now been the Fundlist moderator (and janitor) for more than half of its history, and will share his collection of the most useful ideas, examples and words of wisdom from those thirty years. Join him for a multi-channel walk through fundraising history and see a big box of fundraising ideas that have stood the test of time.

Using an Advancement Lens Towards DEI
Natalie Graff and Arah Parker, Cal Poly Pomona University

In response to social justice issues surrounding the murder of George Floyd in 2020, Cal Poly Pomona committed to improve transparency and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across its campus. University Advancement launched an Anti-Bias Initiative by creating a working group to assess needs and challenges in the division specifically using an advancement lens. The initial working group created sub committees that conducted research, identified key internal and external stakeholders, assessed data points, resulting in actionable items to systematically move the Division of Advancement towards a more healthy, diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

What Have I Gotten Myself Into? Everything You Need to Know When Going Into Advancement Services!
Valerie Nguyen, California State University, Dominguez Hills

The Legal Ins and Outs of DAFs, Private Foundations, Pledges, and QPQs
John Taylor, John Taylor Consulting

This session will look at issues pertaining to giving through donor-advised funds, and the related issues for gifts from private (family) foundations. We will analyze the curious IRS Notice 2017-73 applying to DAFs, and dive deeper into the broader issue of pledges (enforceable, conditional, unenforceable – whatever!) being satisfied through DAFs and private foundations. Coupled with this, we will discuss donor benefits associate with gifts through these mechanisms and overall issues pertaining to quid pro quos.

What We’ve Learned in Three Years of Measuring Alumni Engagement
Jenny Cooke Smith, CASE

Now it its third year, CASE’s Alumni Engagement Metrics (AEM) survey can provide your institution with benchmarks and insights to help shape strategies and set goals. By collecting counts of alumni engaged philanthropically, as volunteers, experientially, and through communication, the survey provides a framework for measuring engagement consistently across the globe. In this session, you’ll learn which alumni are most likely to engage, how to discuss the pipeline between engagement and giving, and tips for replacing participation with engagement as a proxy for alumni affinity. This session will provide you with a path forward, whether you are just beginning to make the case for capturing data and collaborating beyond the advancement office, or setting strategies using engagement benchmarking results.

Women in Leadership in Advancement
Kalyn Rose Miller and Gizel Avina, Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, and Panel TBA

Women make up the majority of nonprofit employees, yet they are underrepresented in leadership positions across nonprofit organizations. In this panel, we bring together women leaders and aspiring women leaders of nonprofits to engage in discussion about relevant issues and foster meaningful relationships. How can we understand both the challenges and the opportunities presented by women’s leadership? How do issues like gender roles, work-life balance, and mentorship shape women’s leadership?

Writing for Philanthropy: The Three Dimensions of Language
Frank Dickerson, PhD, Principal, Narrative Fundraising

You know a good story when you see one. But do You know what makes a good story good? Learn how to write in the three dimensions of narrative. Dr. Frank Dickerson has conducted extensive research on how organizations write for philanthropy. Come and learn about some of his favorite data-driven findings, with some concrete take-aways and lessons learned.

You Had Me at <Record>:
Your Full Personal Video Fundraising Repertoire
Amanda Baca, University of New Mexico

From getting prospect appointments to showing (continual) appreciation, video has become an essential tool in fundraising. Hear how one fundraising team used the online video creation platform BombBomb to engage a global portfolio of prospects, collect video from a global set of beneficiaries, steward its donors and discover other innovative uses as well.