Wednesday Schedule

All times are Central Time.   Registration for Wednesday sessions is now closed.   Note that video recordings will be available for several weeks after the conference for any sessions that you miss and still want to watch.


9:00-9:45 a.m.

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 2021 Midwest “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.


10:00-11:15 a.m.

Key Ingredients to a Comprehensive Giving Day Communications Plan
Sarah Byrd, Knox College

Feel like you’re guessing on what the right amount of communications is for your giving day? Not sure where to even begin with segmentation? Struggle with mobilizing alumni volunteers? Let’s talk about some easy wins you can incorporate into your giving day communication strategy.

The “Service” Piece of Advancement Services: Building a Collaborative and Service-Oriented AS Program
Jennifer Dykes, University of Findlay

Sometimes we forget what the “service” part of Advancement Services is all about. At the University of Findlay, Advancement Services has spent eight years building not just a spirit of but true collaboration and cooperation throughout Advancement and the entire University population with areas who either depend on us or we on them. This session will focus on the steps needed to foster a sense of service with everything we touch and how those actions have improved processes, systems, and relationships.

The Post-Pandemic Pivot in Alumni Relations
Jessica Mueller, Roosevelt University
Michelle Weiner, Lane Tech Alumni Association
Damaris Tapia, Northeastern Illinois University

A discussion update on what’s working with engagement.  Virtual homecomings, lectures, reunions, networking, and more – and the tentative plans to reopen.  And new ideas for tracking affinity and interests in the digital space.  As we (hopefully) prepare for a full opening “post-pandemic pivot,” what did we learn from the past year, how does alumni relations prepare for the new landscape of in-person and digital-hybrid programming, and how do we manage and work with institution partners to operate and optimize our  opportunities.  Hear from Jessica Mueller, Associate Director of Alumni Engagement at Roosevelt University, Michelle Weiner, Alumni Board President at Lane Tech High School, and Damaris Tapia, Director of Alumni Relations at Northeastern Illinois University.


11:30-12:45 p.m.

The Secret to Making Everyone Happy:
Tracking the ROI of Annual Giving Appeals 
Kevin Capp, The Principia (MO)

Before implementing Return on Investment (ROI) analysis of our Annual Giving appeals, many of our stakeholders were grumpy and frustrated. Specifically, the Marketing department felt like Annual Giving asked for too much and spent too much on expensive appeals. Other stakeholders like the Chief Advancement Officer, campus heads, and gift services felt the Annual Giving team didn’t have a solid strategy for continual improvement. Revenue and participation rates didn’t help answer the lingering question of whether our expensive appeals were worth the effort and cost. In 2018, Annual Giving implemented return on investment analysis and it has made all the difference. Join Director of Development Programs and Annual Giving for Principia to learn how they calculate and report on ROI with minimal effort so everyone is happy (with the Annual Giving appeal strategy.)

Donor Privacy – GDPR, Transparency and Other Lessons and Early Warnings From Europe and the UK
Jennie Moule, Alveo Consulting (UK)
Michael Halverson, Loyola University Chicago
John Taylor, Moderator

Jennie Moule has been bang in the middle of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) discussions for the past ten years in her advancement services work in London with UK and EU educational institutions.  John Taylor and Loyola’s Michael Halverson join her for a discussion about her experience, similarities with changing donor privacy laws in the US (including the Supreme Court’s recent ruling upholding California donor confidentiality), the likely arrival of new requirements for transparency and solicitation opt-outs, and the implications for fundraising – particularly annual giving.   What you should know now. 

Great Isn’t Built By the Timid
Shelby Childs, Give Campus

In today’s fundraising world, it’s not enough to question the status quo. Keeping donors engaged and connected to causes they care about challenges us to be changemakers, solution seekers, and creative content generators within the annual fund. Innovation on that scale is daunting. Savvy strategy and a drive to make lasting impressions on donors that keep them coming back for more are key to your success. Shelby will share a case study from a school who managed to upend the status quo within their graduates of the last decade (GOLD) audience to great success. 


1:30-2:45 p.m.

Drumroll Please… Favorites From the 22nd Annual Giving Appeal and Idea Exchange
Bob Burdenski

Awesome appeals, terrific technologies, dynamic discoveries and marvelous messages. It was a great year of pushing the envelope in direct mail, digital and beyond. Come and see CASE Innovations in Annual Giving author Bob Burdenski dump out his bag of Best Of the Best awards for some of the clever fundraising ideas of the year.

How to Plan For, Strategize, and Survive Staffing Changes
Torey Calvert, Latin School of Chicago
Everyone has dealt with many changes over the past year and a half, both professionally and personally. According to Axios, surveys show anywhere from 25% to 40% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs. When faced with staffing changes, it is incumbent on us to prepare for, facilitate, positively survive and endure after change. Join us in this session for a discussion about managing changes to be the change we want! And bring your own stories, good and bad, so we can learn together.

Turn Off the TV – What to Do With All These Channels
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine 
Stormie Kirby Harless, Ball State University Foundation
Watch a preview of this session!

Most of us struggle with just trying to reach our donors with one channel. Now there is “multichannel” and even “omnichannel” fundraising. It doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it seems, no matter how small or large your institution is. Learn how you can reach your donors in the most effective way possible by “listening” to what they tell you through their own giving behavior.


3:00-4:15 p.m.

Growing Giving Frequency and Donor Value in an Alumni Participation World
Megan Karwacki, Loyola University Chicago

Education instructions lag behind their other not-for-profit counterparts in annual donor gift frequency and donor value, party because we retain a US News-like focus on annual alumni giving participation.  “Give once, and we won’t ask you again this year.”  While its participation goals remain an important metric, Loyola University has adopted a strategy of leaving donors “in the appeal bucket” in an effort to engage them in additional giving opportunities and to identify additional donor affinities.   And it’s succeeding.  Join Megan for a briefing on what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

The New CASE Standards: What Was Fixed, and What Was Not
John Taylor
There are no rules or even laws that tell us what counts, what doesn’t count, and why what doesn’t count doesn’t count. However, CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) released the latest edition of its renowned counting guidelines. These standards have existed in various forms for forty years! Our session will explore the many counting changes that clear up confusion from past versions, including counting bequest expectancies and sponsored research. In addition, we will discuss some new areas of confusion and some gray areas in counting as well as that which is cut and dried – well, possibly cut and dried from a CASE perspective but not always followed!


Five Ways to Maximize Your Donor Outreach
Dr. Chad Warren, DPP, RNL

It’s about engagement. Our alumni are more than walking ATMs, and making advancement about a collaborative, lifetime relationship is key. We’ll share five key shifts that fundraisers are making to maximize this relationship, boost ROI, and long term results. The secret: it’s about more than asking. Join this session to hear how focusing on annual giving as a major gift pipeline investment, expanding communications to active engagement beyond solicitation, focusing on ease of giving, and what you provide alumni and supporters over a lifetime can make a difference. And new strategies, like P2P texting, personalized video messages, and AI personalization can help you do it. Hear about new tech and strategies that challenge the norm, and head back to your shop with new ideas to take the giving relationship beyond a transaction.


4:15-5:00 p.m.

Virtual Conference Meet-and-Greet on Zoom
Say hello to your fellow attendees and enjoy a relaxed end to the opening conference day.  Bring your pets, your kids, anything else in your background and your beverage of choice for some fun networking. 
RSVP for this session.