Monday, March 15: Schedule and Session Sign-Up

All times are Pacific Time.  If you’re a member of an institution that’s registered for the MOTM Conference, use this page to RSVP for the sessions you’d like to attend.  You must use your institution credentials (email address, etc.) to be approved and checked in.   Your institution’s registration contact has been repeatedly advised to have you sign up no later than the night before the session(s) you’d like to attend – “day of” registrations will be accommodated as best as possible. Note that recordings for all sessions will be available after the conference.  Do not register for more than one session scheduled at the same time.  You’ll receive an email confirmation with joining instructions for each session.


9:00-10:15 a.m.


Opening Plenary Session:
Be Mindful: All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss…
Welcome, Introductions and Conference Highlights
Bob Burdenski, Taylor Stayton and John Taylor, Conference Co-Chairs
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Don’t miss the always-fun, rope-drop opening to the Meeting of the Minds. Conference Co-Chair Taylor Stayton from UCLA will join CASE Laureates, Crystal Apple teachers, authors, listserv moderators, and general fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor to launch the 2021 West Coast 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 Taylor, Bob and John as they provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come.

10:30-11:45 a.m.

An Annual Giving Writing Forum
Jonathan Thomas, Westmont College, Carter Stripp, CalTech
, and Sarah Nash, Mills College
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Three California wordsmiths will lead a forum discussion on the annual giving writing process. What themes resonate? What voices do you use – including the voice of your institution’s leadership? What considerations do you make for different audiences? How do you use humor? Urgency? Guilt? Peer pressure? When do you write with brevity, when do you write an extended proposal, and when do you write for “however long it takes to tell the story?” And what about magazine ads, social media posts and other “fixed width” spaces? Join us for some direction and some discussion on ways to approach your annual giving writing objectives.

A Crowdfunding Check-In: Chaos, Calamity and Covid
Ryan Lawrence, UC Berkeley and Taylor Stayton, UCLA

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Two crowdfunding pioneers will lead a discussion about today’s best practice in project-based fundraising, how they’ve seen their programs evolve (including in the past pandemic year), and what they see ahead for this important component of an annual giving program. Identifying new donors, prospect-specific affinities, and satisfying student project and institution budget-relieving needs remain important goals. Hear how two great programs are continuing their excellence.

Portfolio Hygiene and Optimization
Suzanne Stone & Meliza Trimidal, University of San Diego
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Do your major gift officers have inflated prospect portfolios? Are they reluctant to give up prospect assignments? Do they have the best prospects in their portfolios? This session will discuss our approach and methods to instituting new policies and procedures for our major gift officers to ensure healthy, robust, and dynamic prospect portfolios

How Texting for Stewardship and Fundraising Nets a
Return on Investment
Lauren Jaeger and Jeff Meece, Mongoose

Watch a preview of this session!
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Reaching alumni virtually has become even more important with reduced in-person contact. If your fundraising and friend-raising plans aren’t keeping up with the times, it’s likely that your Advancement team is falling short of their goals. This presentation will use real-life examples to show how our partner institutions are successfully employing text-to-give campaigns to attain a positive return on investment through their texting platforms. In this session you will learn:
● Best practices for two-way donor texting engagement
● How texting can be integral to cultivation and stewardship plans
● Success stories from trailblazing fundraising teams
● How your advancement team can get started


1:00-2:15 p.m.

Connect the Dots: Donor Relations Strategies
for Relationship-Building Success
Eliza McNulty, Stanford University
Watch a preview of this session!
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Industry research says that donors want three things after making a gift: to feel appreciated, to know the organization used their gift for its intended purpose, and to understand how their gift made an impact. A donor relations strategy will help you connect the dots and deliver on these donor needs. In this session, learn about the basic components of a donor relations strategy, the types of projects and activities led by donor relations teams, and how we partner with colleagues across development to ensure our donors feel great about their giving!

Gift Agreements Made Easy
Michele Wanner, Chapman University

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Getting the money in the door is one thing. Knowing what to do with it and where to put it is quite another. Have you ever been in the awkward position of a donor asking about how their funds are being used only to discover they are sitting in a “holding account?” The focus of this session is to help organizations streamline the gift agreement process. So much so that the new fund and spending criteria are ready and waiting for the first pledge payment – not the other way around. We will review establishing viable templates that can bypass extra approval steps. We’ll also discuss what sort of promises we can make – and not make – to our donors.

Let’s Pivot: But What Does That Actually Mean in 2021?
Justin Marquart, RNL
and Jen Maccormack, University of Washington
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The world has changed. Donors have pivoted, and generosity is still high, even amidst economic uncertainty. But you’ll only get gifts if you can capture attention, show impact, and make it easy and compelling to give. In a time of high stress and distraction, we’ve seen consumers, companies and donors make key shifts. Are you doing the key things to capture this new energy and these new behaviors? And what do things like ‘personalization at scale’ and ‘digital first’ actually mean when you’ve got a hundred people asking you to ask for money as a fundraiser? We’ll review what’s working, show key examples of how combining traditional outreach, digital channels, texting, video, and analytics can make a big difference. We’ll talk about how to make key investments now, justify them, and avoid whittling down too much amidst budget stress. Join RNL’s Justin Marquart for this discussion of what’s working in this challenging time for donor engagement.

Channel of the Moment – Peer-to-Peer Messaging in Today’s World
Ricky Martinez, Hustle

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We are in a day and age where text messaging is second nature and the primary communication channel most people use in their daily lives. So as an organization how do you compete? How do you break through the noise? How do you get your messages heard and engaged? You use the channel of the moment! Join in the momentous wave of leveraging text messaging as a way to quickly engage with your audience, conveniently mobilize action, and create a conversation thread. Peer-to-peer (P2P) text messaging is a powerful tool for teams of any size. Join our lightning talk series as we address the agility, scalability, powerful results, and what’s next in using P2P messaging as a communication channel.


2:30-3:45 p.m.

Finding Alumni Engagement Success…During a Pandemic?
Sarah Sturm, USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

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One year into virtual alumni engagement, it is clear that our new advancement environment is here to stay. How do we look to the future and find success in a new digital world that comes with its own set of challenges? Using the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences at the University of Southern California as a case study, we will dive into four key strategies for creating a thriving alumni program:
• Building collaborative partnerships
• Giving alumni the programming THEY want
• Creating feedback loops
• Putting ALL of that data to work

Why Can’t We Be Friends? Why Collaboration is the Most Important Tool for Taking Your Fundraising Digital
Megan French, Rebecca Reyes, Jake Blodgett, City of Hope
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The last year has accelerated what many see as the inevitable need for philanthropy to fully embrace all forms of emerging digital engagement, but we cannot neglect taking a wholistic approach to communication with our donors that includes more traditional media. Using examples from #GivingTuesday 2020 City of Hope’s Annual Giving team will demonstrate how a multi-contact approach creates a “surround-sound” messaging effect.

The New Advancement Services Organization – It’s a New World!
Maureen Procopio, University of Oregon
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The Advancement Services model in the current era of digital disruption has adjusted and expanded to emphasize data and tech not only in its tools, but also in the talent and organizational structures. In this session, Maureen will walk through trends, observations, and lessons from her 2019 Advancement Services study which investigated changes in models among several AAU institutions. What prompted those changes? What trends were observed? What are some opportunities?

The World is NOT Your Oyster – Stop Fundraising Like It Is.
Nathan Chappell, CFRE, DonorSearch Aristotle

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Data shows that only 56% of American’s make charitable gifts, so why are most fundraising programs aligned to think that every person they meet is a potential donor?  There’s no doubt that results happen when the art and science of fundraising are combined, but how much of the practice is based on myth versus science?  Join Nathan Chappell, a 20-year fundraising veteran for a discussion centered around the qualitative and quantitative reasons why people give, why some don’t, and how to measure signs of generosity throughout the donor journey.


4:00-5:00 p.m.

The “Meeting of the Minds” Zoom Conference Reception:
Try Out Zoom’s New Breakout Room Capabilities
Sarah Sturm, USC Dornsife, Bob Burdenski and Zoom Room Hosts TBA
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Say “hi” to your old Meeting of the Minds friends and make a few new ones. If you’re not aware, Zoom now lets you set up Zoom rooms by topic, and allows attendees to enter and exit rooms whenever they like. Give it a try and join USC’s Sarah Sturm, Bob Burdenski and others for a sampling of Zoom room networking. Whether you want to wine down at the end of your day, or want to discuss a little more shop, we’ve got a room for you. And don’t care for the room you’re in? Try another! Some of our possible Zoom breakout room end-of-day topics include:
◼ Still More IRS Guidelines and State Registration Rules with John Taylor
◼ Annual Giving After Hours
◼ Wine Club
◼ Get Your Pet
◼ Parent Corner
…Or Propose Your Own When You RSVP!