2018 Conference Sessions

Here are the sessions from the 2018 Midwest Meeting of the Minds Conference.   2019 sessions will begin to be posted soon

Opening Plenary Session:
The End Of The Steady State: Annual Giving in a Fast-Changing Fundraising World
(Bob Burdenski)
Crystal Apple teacher, CASE author, FundList moderator and fundraising curmudgeon Bob Burdenski will launch the 2018 Midwest “Meeting of the Minds” Conference with a rapid-fire rundown of the leading developments and issues in annual giving fundraising today, and offer a preview of the great conference sessions to come.

Alumni Relations and Annual Giving:
Achieving Efficient and Effective Engagement

(Tracy Krahl and Sarah Myskin, DePaul University)
It’s no longer ‘fundraising’ and ‘friendraising’ – it’s about embracing a constituent-centric engagement model that builds a long-lasting relationship between alumni and their alma mater in a myriad of ways. Learn more about how DePaul University has aligned their annual giving and alumni relations efforts for greater internal efficiency and external impact.

Annual Giving as Marketing: Redefining the Strategy
(Jean Roberts, The College of Wooster)
We often get caught up on mail timelines, tracking down stories and channel performance, but when was the last time you sat down to think about they “why”?  Why did the last mail piece work?  Where did we fall short? Is our message resonating with alums?  During this session we’ll talk about how to think like a marketer and redefine annual giving themes and message strategies to yield more effect cross-channel performance.

Crafting the Annual Giving Program Plan – Many Channels and Many Masters
(Janeen Kooi, Manchester University, John Templeman, CWRU, Jean Roberts, The College of Wooster, Emily Berry, Miami University and Bob Burdenski)
With so many channels, so much segmentation, and only so much budget, how do you effectively and efficiently construct an annual giving program plan?  A group of annual giving professionals will tell how they build — and refine — their annual giving road map.  Join the discussion about a year in the life of the annual giving program.

Crowdfunding 2.0 – Observations from a Central Perspective
(John Templeman, Case Western Reserve University)
As the fundraising landscape continues to change, it is becoming increasingly more important for annual fund offices at higher education institutions to move more into the digital space.  Aside from email, one of the best and most effective ways to do this is through crowdfunding initiatives.
The idea of “Crowdfunding 2.0” in this context is simply responding to specific niche/targeted fundraising opportunities by utilizing the crowdsourcing model.  In this presentation, I will share examples of successful projects executed via the Central Annual Giving office at Case Western Reserve University as well as thoughts on how this strategy can allow annual giving shops to take a more focused, donor-centered approach to fundraising and grow their respective programs.

Crowdfunding, Giving Events and the Rise of Micro-Sites
(McCabe Callahan, Community Funded and Paul Leo, University of Chicago)
Since the first centrally managed university platforms launched in 2012, crowdfunding has grown exponentially and is now an integral part of most institutional fundraising efforts. It’s inception ushered in a new paradigm forcing all organizations to reconsider the best methods of engaging their community in meaningful ways. Donors, similar to consumers, expect 3 things: (1) they want to trust who they are giving their money to, (2) they want their contribution to be personal and meaningful, and (3) they want it to be easy. Come learn how organizations are using crowdfunding, giving events, and micro-sites cohesively and effectively to enhance their annual strategy. Learn to engage your community in meaningful and authentic ways by empowering your community.

Engaging the Emerging Generation of Donors
(Felicity Meu, GiveCampus)
Is your development office prepared for the next generation of donors? Innovate, prototype, and iterate to get your shop ready to engage these emerging donors. Stanford’s d.school a hub for innovators at Stanford and beyond. Students, faculty and industry leaders find their way here to work on the world’s messy problems together. Human values are at the heart design thinking’s collaborative approach. As a former consultant to Stanford’s Effective Philanthropy lab, which sits at the intersection of design thinking and philanthropy, Felicity will discuss using the human centered design principles of the d.school to develop a process for producing creative solutions to even the most complex philanthropic challenges and we will share examples of online and offline engagement from some of today’s most creative shops.

Enhancing Your Direct Mail Efforts with Behavioral Economics
(Jaclyn Day, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Bethany Barwegen, Pledgemine)
Often our focus with direct mail is telling the perfect story; however, the best story in the world cannot save your solicitation if you don’t consider the context in which someone is making a decision. For the next hour, you’ll take a step away from the storytelling aspect of direct mail and learn more about the indirect influences that are a part of decision making process. By understanding these indirect influences, you can nudge prospects to give with small and easy steps. At the end of the session, you’ll receive a samples of several of the direct mail piece discussed in our session, courtesy of Pledgemine.

The Facebook Annual Fund
(Bob Burdenski)
Facebook has become too valuable a channel in today’s annual giving plan, and you need to be fully aware of its functionality and all the ways it can help with your fundraising success. This special pre-conference “bootcamp” will be devoted to all-things-Facebook related to annual giving, including…
– The Latest (Theories) On The Facebook Algorithm
– Annual Giving Facebook Pages, and Institutional Co-Existence
– Audience Identification and Segmentation
– Facebook “Likes” and Like Strategies and Goals
– Sponsored and Boosted Posts
– Customized Lists and Facebook Advertising
– Retargeting – Converting Your Giving Page Visitors Into Donors
– Share Buttons and The Donor As Advocate
– Facebook Groups and Your Alumni
– Facebook Frames
– Facebook Fundraisers – Pros and Cons
– Payments Through Facebook
– Social Media Ambassadors and Social Media Toolkits
– Facebook Live and Streaming Strategies For Annual Giving
– Other Complementary Products, Facebook Tools and Add-Ons
– The Horizon: The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Annual Giving

Faculty/Staff Campaign Secrets to Success
(Kelly Brault, Oakland University)
Oakland University just completed its most successful employee and retiree campaign in its more than forty-year tradition.  OU was able to increase giving from approximately $480,000 from 926 donors in 2016, to raising $823,000 from 1,019 donors in 2017.  This was accomplished despite spending less budget on this already low-cost campaign.   For its achievement, Oakland U. received a 2018 CASE Circle of Excellence Award.

You’re surrounded on-campus by some of your best potential supporters, who see the needs of campus daily.  Are you getting the most out of your faculty/staff campaign?  How about retirees?  Learn some secrets and best practices that can make this one of your most important and cost-effective annual giving initiatives.  We’ll discuss tactics in engaging these audiences, communications before, during and after the campaign, timeline, use of volunteers, reporting, the role of leadership, how MGOs can play a part, and how friendly competition can motivate.  

Fixing the Leaky Bucket — Addressing Issues of Donor Attrition
(Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine)
Your donor file has a life of its own and can be compared to a big, leaky bucket.  New donors enter your bucket with a first time gift (like filling your bucket with a hose) and, hopefully, continue to give on a recurring basis.  Unfortunately, donors often lapse in their giving (leak out the bottom of the bucket).  Lapsed donors can be reacquired (like holding a ladle under the bucket and pouring them back in) but is it worth it to do this?  Most of us understand the importance of keeping track of these donors but few of us know how to measure these statistics and what to do about it once they are known.  In 2017 and 2018, Pledgemine conducted a study across a representative sample of universities to determine what are the industry benchmarks for donor attrition.  In this session, you will learn the results of this study and how to measure donor attrition performance statistics on your own so you can see how you measure up to the industry norms.  In addition, we will give you practical and proven solutions for dealing with “at risk” segments in case you have your own problem areas.

Giving Day Forum – Strategies From “Move In Miami Day”
(Emily Berry, Miami University)

A Leadership Annual Giving Forum
(Elise Tomlin, Wheaton College)

A Look In The Advancement Mirror:
Results From RNL’s 2017 Higher Education Survey
(Brian Gawor, Ruffalo Noel Levitz)
Ruffalo Noel Levitz  surveyed over 3,000 fundraisers this past summer to ask new questions about annual giving best practices, digital engagement, and other advancement work to uncover the top trends for annual giving fundraisers.  Who’s using new technologies?  What are the key barriers for attracting new donors?  And what are VPs planning to do with their budgets in coming years?  We’ll also talk about the top trends in campaigns, from crowdfunding to giving day to comprehensive capital campaigns.  A statistical report on the current pulse of our profession.

The Love/Hate Relationship of Annual Fund Direct Mail
(Marc Miller, MCR)
In this session, you will learn Tips and Tricks for executing a successful direct mail piece from working with the vendor to selecting the perfect package to carrying your fundraising message. Segmentation and personalization are a must and in this session you will learn various ways to utilize both of these techniques while maximizing budget dollars to get the best ROI!

A Phonathon Forum
(Mark James, Wheaton College and
Joey Carrillo, Illinois Institute of Technology)
Bring your best tips and your biggest frustrations to this open discussion about what’s working in the phone room.  Get some new strategies for Improving your contact rates, pledge rates, credit card rates, recurring gifts, pledge fulfillment and more.

A Principal Gifts Cultivation Checklist
(Ben Porter, Northwestern University)
When Ben was a young annual giving officer, he went on a $1,000 donor call that he immediately realized had $10M potential.  But he didn’t know what steps to take to convert that annual donor into a principal gift donor.  He was playing checkers when he should have been playing chess.  Today, with the benefit of data, campaign experience, and dozens of major and principal gifts under his belt, he knows what the key steps are.  His recent “Donor Cultivation Checklist,” published in Currents magazine, outlines those steps backed up by his survey of 101 principal gifts.  Ben will connect the dots and present a simple way of de-risking principal gift solicitations and scoring them for success, using methods that will be very familiar to annual giving professionals.   Yes, Ben missed out on the big gift years ago, but now he uses the checklist to great effect, both for his own principal gifts portfolio and across a 325-person development office.

Strengthening Your Annual Giving And Advancement Services Relationship (#RelationshipGoals)
(Meghan Dauler Palombo and Kimberly D’Souza, PhD, LSU Foundation)
Not sure how to create a strong relationship between your Advancement Services and Annual Giving departments? Do you not have the collaboration you would like to have? This session will give you practical tips for building a strong, trusting relationship with your colleague(s) and create a team environment dedicated to operational and fundraising excellence.

Trends in Online Giving
(Tessa Burke, iModules)
Online and mobile giving continues to grow year over year and should remain a top area of focus for fundraising. iModules has been reviewing online giving data for the same set of 200+ institutions over the last three years and have identified some common threads for success. In this session, we will look at the importance of email and how an easy giving process makes all the difference. Come ready to share the successes and struggles your institution has faced related to your online efforts and uncover opportunities for giving and engagement growth.

Viva La Phonathon!
(Randy Kinder, University of Alabama, Birmingham)