2024 Conference Sessions

Topics and speakers are unlikely to change, but they might. We’re constructing the program with an emphasis on annual giving, advancement services, management, digital, data and stewardship.

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

Well-known Crystal Apple teachers, CASE authors, listserv moderators, and fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor launch the 2024 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.

An Introduction to Annual Giving and the “Meeting of the Minds” Conference
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

New to the profession? New to the conference? Join CASE Laureate and long-time MOTM host Bob Burdenski for an overview of today’s annual giving fundraising. We’ll talk about the evolving goals, methods, channels, messages, metrics — and the very idea of “annual giving” itself. Ideal for “newbies” (or you “oldbies” in need of a refresh) and also get some ideas for maximizing your “Minds” conference experience in Pomona.

An Annual Giving Directors’ Forum: Life After the US News Alumni Participation Decision
Rachel Robertson, University of Utah, Allison Barry, West Point Association of Graduates and other Panel TBA

From participation, to pipeline? From socks, to more sustained stewardship? From alumni, to other audiences? We’ll talk about CASE’s Alumni Engagement Metrics, the continuing value of a broad base of giving (including capital campaign participation goals), and what it all means for a variety of educational institutions.

Annual Giving in a Decentralized Campus Environment – Lessons Learned & Tips for Success
Rachel Robertson and Kelsey Rodgers, University of Utah

Whether its forming partnerships or herding cats, a central annual giving team has many interpersonal roles to play when engaging with its internal campus colleagues. Hear from Rachel and Kelsey how they’ve achieved annual giving effectiveness in a decentralized campus environment.

Beyond Broadcasting – The Many Uses of Texting for Annual Giving
James Yokelle, UC Irvine

Building Your Annual Giving Department From Scratch
Mark Casey and Tania Mistry, Caltech

Org design, Recruitment, Team culture, and building a sustainable building your annual giving department from scratch: Org Design, Recruitment, Team Culture, and building a sustainable high-performance culture while also having fun. Learn about how Caltech has assembled an achieving annual giving team.

A Community Colleges Fundraising Forum
Doug Bennett, Orange Coast Community College

Data for the Data People: Metrics, KPIs, and OKRs for Advancement Services
Mark Longo, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives and Development Administrative Management, Caltech

As advancement services professionals, we are often called upon to develop, track, and report performance metrics for our colleagues in other areas of our fundraising and alumni relations operation. Yet, despite all our good work, we often don’t have the time or energy to measure our own team’s success. In this session, we’ll explain the differences between metrics, KPIs, and OKRs. We will also review many of the most common measurements for the various areas within an advancement services operation. Isn’t it time that you focus on the data that illuminates your achievements?!

Digital Philanthropy TBA
Ryan Lawrence, UC Berkeley

Direct Mail: Going Beyond the Envelope to Optimize Results
Sara Pond and Matt Sulzer, MCR

This session goes beyond the envelope to showcase ways to balance your annual giving solicitation plan. Explore a variety of direct mail examples thoughtfully packaged with other channels. And, be ready to join in a lively discussion of creative ways to prime your audience and formulate the right solicitation frequency that optimizes results.
This session is packed with:
✔ LOTS of Direct Mail Samples!
✔ Audience Priming Ideas
✔ Donor Journeys

Gift Agreements – Managing the Crazy
Nicole Forrest Boggs, CSU Long Beach

Gift Processing 101 – A Panel Discussion
Moderator: Wendy Johnson, CalArts
Panelists: Valerie Nguyen, Chris Meneses, Tod Davis, and Nicole Forrest Boogs

Join us for a discussion session about all things gift processing. We’ll ask the audience to share their questions, and the panel will do our best to answer them. We’ll talk about best practices and discuss some of the important topics surrounding gift processing: receipt dates, legal requirements, metrics, gift records, etc. If you’d like to submit your questions beforehand, you’re welcome to do so by sending them to wjohnson@calarts.edu.

Giving Days 101: Tools, Tricks, and Advice for Novices and Pros
Allison C. Berry, CFRE, West Point Association of Graduates

Unlock the secrets to successful Giving Days in this enlightening session designed for both beginners and seasoned teams. We’ll delve into the nitty-gritty details, covering crucial aspects such as choosing the right platform provider – with a checklist of essential questions you should ask. Learn the art of crafting a foolproof communication plan, structuring a winning schedule, and determining the optimal frequency for engagement. But that’s not all – discover the science behind donor incentives and how to elevate stewardship to an art form. Whether you’re just starting or looking to fine-tune your strategy, this session promises valuable insights, practical tips, and a dash of humor to make your Giving Days truly extraordinary. Get ready to revolutionize your annual giving campaigns!”

Hiring, Coaching, Mentoring, & Training New AS Professionals
Wayne Combs, CHOC & Jessica LaBorde, UC Davis

IRS (and State) Sticky Wickets
John Taylor, John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC

Back by popular demand, join John Taylor for a review of specific IRS issues impacting charitable giving. This session will focus on the complex legal issues that can impact gift solicitation and gift acceptance by your organization. We will cover the following:
✔ State Fundraising Registration Requirements
✔ Binding & Non-Binding Pledges
✔ Donor-Advised Fund and Family Foundation Issues
✔ Quid Pro Quo
✔ Donor Influence & Control
✔ Finish Line Topics Including Gift Dates, Scholarships, Cryptocurrency, & Corporate Sponsorships
John also wants to address related issues that keep you up at night! So please email him (johntaylorconsulting@gmail.com) with those questions; he’ll incorporate them anonymously into the presentation!

Leadership Annual Giving – 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.

Leadership Annual Giving: Feedback From a Frontline Fundraiser
Robin Savoian, Caltech

Prospect Development
Tod Davis, University of the Pacific

Prospect Development and Advancement Services Go Together like Peas and Carrots
Carrick Davis, UC Davis

Records Management 101 – Panel Discussion
Grant Potter, Eddie Padilla, CSU Los Angeles, and Tod Davis, University of the Pacific

A Return to the University of Utah’s Recurring Giving Program – With New Data!
Rachel Robertson, University of Utah

Rachel wowed a full MOTM session room last year with an overview of the University of Utah’s big pivot to a recurring giving emphasis (including its all-recurring-gift-ask phonathon program). How’s it going? Rachel returns with some brand-new data and an update on the recurring giving successes at the University of Utah.

Selective AI Strategies for Greater Annual Giving Efficiency
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

Draft letter copy, draft everything copy, long Excel formulas, graphic designs, and a whole lot more. AI won’t replace you, but some of its time-saving shortcuts can help make your annual giving work more efficient. Join Bob for a run-down of some of his favorite AI hacks for annual giving.

Sponsor Session TBA
HighTide Software

Tracking Requests – Creating Visibility and Accountability through Functionality
Zac Spurlin, University of the Pacific, Chris Meneses, Caltech

Have you ever had a service request slip through the cracks? Have you ever sifted through your inbox trying to find that original request when the VP asks, “Where’s my report?” Requests continuously come to us in various formats, and staying on top of these requests can be challenging. This session will discuss how you can track service requests in your organization and some of the solutions available and provide insights and options to consider as you begin this process. We will explore internal solutions vs third-party solutions, reporting needs, and overall objectives of a viable tracking system. The next time, you will have the request and your response in your VP’s hands before they ask for it!

What to do When Your Donor Wants to Donate An Island in Canada
John TaylorJohn H. Taylor Consulting, LLC and Doug Bennett, Orange Coast College Foundation

We will attempt to demystify the mysterious when accepting the “weird and bizarre.” We will begin the discussion by reviewing the importance of gift acceptance committees and policies. And then we will dive into areas of specific concern these days, including:
✔ Gifts-In-Kind, including the need to distinguish between related and unrelated-use gifts of property
✔ Cryptocurrency and NFTs
✔ Certain forms of planned gifts, including CGAs funded by property
✔ Gifts you should think twice about before accepting, like timeshares, life insurance, closely held stock, and certain bequests.

What’s the Big Deal? Key Differences Between a Call Center & an Engagement Center
Jeff Pacini, David Wishart and Kindra Samons, Legends

The future of the student call center continues to be a hot topic across the industry. The term “Engagement Center” has become a buzz word, but what does that really mean? How is it different from the traditional call center? During this session we dispel the myths, share insights, explore data and inspire your institution to evolve your call center from a “channel” to a coordinated “strategy.”

Women in Leadership in Advancement
Kalyn Rose Miller, Pomona College, Gizel Avina, Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate Universityand 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?