Thursday Schedule and Session Signup

All times are Central Time.  If you’re a member of an institution that’s registered for the Midwest Meeting of the Minds Conference, use this page to RSVP for the sessions you’d like to attend.  You must use your personal institution email address to be approved and checked in.   Session signup will be closed the night before a session is scheduled – please do not wait to signup for the sessions you want to attend.  Do not register yourself for more than one session scheduled at the same time.  You’ll receive an email confirmation with joining instructions for each session.  Note that video recordings will be available for several weeks after the conference for any sessions that you miss and still want to watch.


9:00-10:15 a.m.

A Reunion and Class Giving Forum
Tanya Hickson, University of Chicago
Emily Luten Maltby, Washington University in St. Louis
Mackenzie Miller, Saint Mary’s College
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If class affinity is a strength at your institution (or you wish it were) join this trio of reunion and class giving professionals for a special forum on the subject.  Whether you have a whole reunion team (like Tanya at the University of Chicago), or a one-person shop (like Heather at Lake Forest Academy), or you’re somewhere in-between (like Emily at Wash U. ) hear how they’ve coped with pandemics (and virtual reunions), engage volunteers, set goals, integrate digital tools and social networks (including giving days and crowdfunding), keep an eye on major gift opportunities, fundraise with classes in non-reunion years, and engage alumni in addition to their giving.

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

Setting Student Fundraisers up for Success
Rachel Spencer, Vanilla Soft
Watch a Video Preview of This Session!
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Your student fundraising team carries the lion’s share of the responsibility when it comes to converting and engaging your alumni and donors. It is largely up to them to deliver a positive experience for potential donors and, ultimately, inspire them to make a financial contribution. Despite this, oftentimes insufficient investment is made in recruiting and developing the best team for the task. This session will look at topics such as; student recruitment, training, development, motivation, incentives, retention and team-building. Your students are taking on what is arguably the toughest job in the development team and placing themselves on the very front line of your institution’s fundraising efforts. With this in mind, this entirely student-focussed session will ensure that you and your team are set up for maximum success.


10:30-11:45 a.m.

Annual Giving Stewardship:  Where Sensitivity Meets Scale
Eliza McNulty, Stanford University
Miles Stevenson, UK Fundraising Consultant

and Bob Burdenski
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It’s always been an annual giving goal to help donors feel appreciated, but only in recent years have we been able to show them lots of love in new time- and cost-efficient ways.  Join past ADRP president and Stanford director of donor relations Eliza McNulty, and a donor relationship-building fundraising storyteller from the UK – Miles Stevenson – as they discuss the importance of stewardship, annual giving’s growing role in relationship building and review a collection of Bob annual giving samples — all with the theme of donor appreciation and stewardship.  It’s stories, strategies, samples and scalable stewardship ideas in one far-flung chat.

Making the Case for Using the Right Data
Tessa Burke, Anthology
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Today, creating personalized touchpoints for alumni and donors is critical to building their engagement. And while advancement services have the data that teams need to be able to build engagement effectively, this often goes awry. In this session, we’ll talk about ways you can advise teams as to what data they can and should use for engagement, ways that the rest of the division can help update data, and capturing the right data to inform strategies.

Coming Home: Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Texting and the Return of In-Person Events
Christian Perry and Rachel Cleary, GetThru
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As we enter into what’s hopefully the tail end of the pandemic, colleges and universities are gearing up for students and alumni to return to campuses. This is a unique moment in time that requires a thoughtful communications strategy.  While peer-to-peer (P2P) texting proved to be an effective channel during COVID, it will continue to engage hard-to-reach contacts during the transition back to in-person events. P2P may be especially useful for this year’s homecoming season, as people reunite for tradition’s sake—but also to celebrate the recent challenges we’ve overcome.  This presentation will include a brief recap of the past year and a half and cover best practices for post-peak-pandemic communication. Lastly, we’ll offer a primer on texting for in-person events, case studies on past homecoming texting done by current GetThru clients, and a guide to accommodating each donor and event attendee, regardless of whether they’ll be visiting campus or staying engaged from their homes this fall.


12:30-1:45 p.m.

The On-Site and Online Giving Day – Rubbing Your Tummy While Patting Your Head
Erin Glidden, Heidi Hopewell, and Jenn McCloud, South Dakota State University
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South Dakota State University has successfully conducted five giving days, including 2020’s One Day For STATE, where 4,888 donors came together to raise a total of $1,617,648 for our students, faculty, and programs.  One Day For STATE is a combination of digital fundraising as well as in-person (although pandemically-challenged in 2020) events involving the whole town of Brookings, SD.  Hear the stories behind their five-year success, and particular advice on managing two seemingly-diverging sets of on-site vs. online activities.

What is Your Prospect’s “Real” Score? Marrying Vendor Data with Real-Life Data
Bob Rickards, St. Norbert College with Teresa Goddard, DePauw University
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So, you have that vendor scoring information, but how do we make it work with your data? In this session, we will show you how to take your vendor data and mix it with your data to produce an affinity propensity score that will help identify new prospective donors, spot potentially unproductive assignments, make portfolios become visual, and will update dynamically when changes are made. You will be able to find donors with high propensity and low affinity, and then develop plans to engage them to increase the chances of securing a gift. In other words, you will be able to peer into the past to predict the future!

The Rise and (Pit)Falls of Incentives
Colin Hennessy and Megan Rajski, University of Chicago
Julie Knight, Carnegie Mellon University
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The use of “give a gift, get a gift” has been used world-wide to attract donors. Through acquisition, renewal or re-hooking the long lapsed, these tools are often talked about in small circles. Whether it be socks, a calendar, PJ pants or a re-usable straw – these carrots have a point of activation for our donors who are both philanthropic in nature and those who perhaps like rewards for that behavior. But when is the best time to use them? What are some potential wins and risks in offering them to your donor base? How do you fulfill those and how successful are they YOY? This panel of development professionals who have used them in varying degrees want to share their secrets and experience – and hear yours! – in this facilitated discussion.


2:00-3:15 p.m.

Writing for Annual Giving – A Forum
Carol Flanigan, Loyola University Chicago
Shannon Dale, Grand Valley State University
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Two Midwestern 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?” Join us for some direction and some discussion on ways to approach your annual giving writing objectives.

A Data Security Forum
Michael Halverson, Loyola University Chicago (Moderator); Julia Dimick, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation, Teresa Goddard, DePauw University & Elizabeth Tavares. North Park University
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As we learned in our early session, data privacy laws and responsibilities are in a constant state of flux. But at least we have laws and regulations designed to protect our constituents’ data. And while these rules may make our lives a bit difficult, they are for the better. Unfortunately, however, none of these rules have much to do with securing our data. We can FERPA and HIPAA our data all we want. But none of that is any good if someone can hack into our systems and steal our data. Or worse, hack into a vendor system to whom we have “lent” our data for appending or screening. Or worse yet, they locked us out of accessing our data, holding us hostage until we pay a ransom. This panel of experts (and bystanders) will explore this topic and ask audience members, “What have you done to secure your data lately?” 

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


3:30-4:45 p.m.

Ten Years of Giving Days – What’s Next?
Danielle Mason, Saint Mary’s College
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Saint Mary’s College is marking its tenth year of giving days in 2021, with its 24-hour 2020 Belles Give Back campaign raising more than $1.2 million from 4,800+ donors.   How has their program grown and evolved, and where will they continue to grow from here?   As giving days have become an established vehicle for acquiring donors and mobilizing your constituents (including volunteers),  how does an established program build on its foundation?  Hear the Saint Mary’s College story, and bring your own ideas for what the next generation of giving days will look like. 

Opening a Donor Portal to A New Dimension (While Avoiding Black Holes)
Mary Weingartner w/Keelin Schneider, University of Chicago
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Dare we let donors know our secrets? Even if they are donor secrets? Hear about how the University of Chicago has created a donor portal through which donors can see, live and in person, their own giving records – and do so without being confused!

An Independent School Fundraising Forum
Amanda Zopp, Wayland Academy (WI)
Kevin Capp, The Principia (MO)
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Join a trio of independent school fundraising professionals from around the Midwest for a discussion forum all about schools and the particular audiences, messages, channels and culture surrounding school fundraising.