2022 Conference Sessions

Here are the confirmed sessions to-date for this year’s 2022 MMOTM conference – check back for the latest session announcements.  We will have more than thirty sessions!

We’re still building the daily schedule pages, but you can download the latest schedule spreadsheet.

Opening Plenary Session:
Be Mindful:  All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss…
Welcome, Introductions and Conference Highlights
Bob Burdenski, Deidra Miles, DePaul University, Christina Pulawski, Zuri Group and Other Greeters TBA

We’ll launch the 2022 “Meeting of the Minds” Conference with a festive welcome and a rapid-fire rundown of the 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 us as we provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come, and hear a special welcome from our sponsors.

Closing Session
Your Favorite Fountain-Side Fundraising Questions Answered
Christina Pulawski, Zuri Group
Meredith Howell, University of Illinois, Chicago
Erin Allen, University of Iowa Foundation
Bob Burdenski and Others TBA

Live from Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain, (weather permitting) join us in-person or live on Zoom to hear a collection of champagne-sipping Chicago annual giving and advancement services fundraisers tell us the inside story:  What’s it like to receive a check from Mackenzie Scott (UIC)?  Will it affect your annual giving case for support messaging?   Does having a winning NCAA basketball team (Loyola) improve fundraising?   Are we all really heading back to the office (everyone)?  Ask questions in the chat, and we’ll yell them out loud.  And join us for a toast wherever you are.  It’s a fun and free-flowing hybrid finale to the 2022 Midwest Meeting of the Minds.

Advanced Email Marketing: Best Practices + Other Nerdy Secrets
Beth Hatcher, Beth Interactive

Back by popular demand! All about email marketing, this interactive workshop will cover both the high-level strategies and the little details that make a good email great.  We’ll walk you through the latest email marketing best practices, advanced analytics and A/B testing. We’ll also discuss new email trends in the post-COVID-19 world, how Apple’s Mail privacy changes are affecting results—and how email marketing can build a donor pipeline through acquisition and engagement.  Participants can even get live feedback on their email campaigns, with guidance on copy, design and coding best practices! Just send your sample in advance to beth@bethinteractive.com.  Join us for this hands-on demonstration—and walk away full of actionable and practical next steps to see real results with your next email campaign.

An Alumni Engagement Forum – Pandemics, Metrics, Fundraising and More
Jessica Mueller, Roosevelt University, Dirk Matthews, Columbia College Chicago, Jacqui Glasener, Fresno State, Maurice Willis, IIT Kent College of Law

How’s your alumni engagement?  What are your definitions of success?  What’s your current state of alumni engagement events?  Career services?  Alumni social media activity?  And how does it all connect with your annual giving and other fundraising?  Two alumni engagement practitioners will lead a discussion about all things engagement.  Bring your questions, your successes, your challenges and your wisdom. 

Build Your Own Alumni Leadership Conference
Jessica Mueller, Northeastern Illinois University

Building Content for Annual Giving & Engagement
Jeff Neal and  Greg Miller, Loyola University Chicago

As the fight for our donors’ attention gets more competitive, producing strong, relevant content is no longer an add-on; it’s a must. Hear how Loyola University Chicago has recently built a content and digital marketing team to team up with the Annual Giving team to better connect with alumni and increase donors & engagement.

Business Etiquette – Some New and Old Rules!
Speakers TBA

As we get back to social rules-of-engagement in our work, the pandemic has made things more complicated.  Shake hands?  Exchange business cards?  And which fork at your place setting is still the one for salad?   On top of all the etiquette we thought we knew before, how has appropriate digital engagement entered the conversation?

Chair Yoga!
Heidi Hopewell, South Dakota State University

Yoga isn’t something that has to be done in a studio. There are easy ways to incorporate yoga into your everyday life, whether you’re working at a desk, traveling, or attending a conference. 😊 Taking a moment to stretch is beneficial for relieving stress, increasing productivity, and helping general overall well-being. It’s also a great way to take some strain off your joints and help you focus better on your tasks at hand. We’ll take some time during this session to increase your flexibility, help your concentration, and give you a little mood booster for the rest of your day. This is a class for all level types and all ranges of mobility. The only thing you will need is a chair.

Crowdfunding 2.0 – Beyond the Basics 
Shaina Spencer, University of Iowa

You’ve done a good job addressing the needs of student groups on your campus – where does your crowdfunding program go next? Since the pandemic, the University of Iowa has seen a big shift in crowdfunding, from mostly student/faculty-led to donor-led projects. Partnerships with development officers, repeatable year-over-year projects , and a newly-kicked off “Champions” program this fall have led to greater donor involvement in the projects and causes they care about the most.

Cutting the (Phonathon) Cord: Things We Miss – and Don’t Miss
at the University of Iowa
Erin Allen, University of Iowa

The University of Iowa ended its calling program in the spring of 2019, just before the pandemic. Erin will share the decision behind the change, some of the benefits, and expected and unexpected challenges when this channel was removed from Iowa’s annual giving program.

A Digital Fundraising Forum
Ramona Maza, University of Illinois Chicago, Deidra Miles, DePaul University and Shaina Spencer, University of Iowa Foundation

Giving days.  Crowdfunding.  Retargeting.  Social media.  Bring all of your questions, channels, ideas and solutions to an open forum about multi-channel digital fundraising.  Three practitioners from three different institutions come together for a collaborative chat about  all things digital philanthropy. 

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

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.

Favorite Shared Ideas From the 22nd Annual Giving Exchange
Bob Burdenski

Leadership Annual Giving 1: Prospects, Materials, Metrics and More
Christina Pulawski, Zuri Group, Keelie Johnson, Roosevelt University, Bob Burdenski and Panel TBA

Leadership Annual Giving 2: The Do-It-Yourself Digital Leadership Annual Giving Gift Officer
Emily Berry, Miami University, Bob Burdenski and Panel TBA

Donor Fatigue – What It Is and How to Combat It
Emily Etzkorn, VanillaSoft

Donor Fatigue – we have heard the term as a vague part of the pandemic’s impact. But what is it? And why does it feel so relevant now? Let’s ignite some new energy into fundraising strategies to be more exciting, effective, and defeat the fatigue.

From Annual Giving Up to Advancement Leadership – Career Paths and Changing Perspectives
Bridget Haggerty, Carthage College and Ryan Robinet CFRE, Trine University

Three senior advancement leaders with careers that began in annual giving and advancement services talk about how their perspectives have evolved, their “management view” of annual giving and advancement services today, and their advice for those seeking to move up the advancement career ladder.

A Giving Day Forum
Heidi Hopewell, South Dakota State University

SDSU has one of the most comprehensive and diverse giving days in the U.S., with a strong digital strategy, as well as on-campus and local community fundraising components.  Hear an update on how they pull it all off, and bring your own giving day successes, challenges and questions for this open discussion. 

An Independent School Forum
Filomena Spero, North Side Montessori School, Teresa Sutter, The Latin School of Chicago and Panel TBA

Independent schools bring their own fundraising and engagement opportunities and challenges.  Join a discussion about parent giving, event and benefit fundraising, project-specific fundraising and all things distinctive to independent schools. 

The Journey From Phonathon Room to “Advancement Center”
Adrianne Penney, Oakland University

Oakland University has been conscientiously working to incorporate more storytelling into its call center — moving away from needing to get off the phone in a certain number of minutes in favor of longer, more meaningful conversations. Additionally Oakland onboarded some new technology (texting and video most notably) and empowered students to take more ownership over the advancement center’s management (including training, interviews, scripting, etc.), which was a big departure from years past.   Hear first-hand from Adrienne about how it’s all going and bring stories from your own call center journey.

A Little Bit(coin) About Cryptocurrency and Your Fundraising
Christina Pulawski and Bob Burdenski and Panel TBA

Bitcoin has been in a bit of a free-fall lately, but are you missing out by not offering cryptocurrency as a giving payment option ?  Learn some of the opportunities, challenges, warnings and solutions for offering crypto-philanthropy at your institution. 

LGBTQ+ Giving Motivations – Allies and Affiliations
Peter Robertson PhD, Fresno State

Why are people allies of the LGBTQ+ community? What motivates allies to donate to LGBTQ+ specific causes? In this discussion, Dr. Peter Robertson (he/his/him), Director of Alumni Connections at the Fresno State Alumni Association, will provide findings from his doctoral dissertation’s qualitative research study that address these questions.

“Segments of One” – The Art of Personalized Communication
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine

Picture this: Donor communication as personal as a living room conversation. Pieces whose stories resonate, convey a genuine thank you, congratulate milestones, and ultimately increase giving. Jonathan Van Oss of Pledgemine will show you how you can treat your donors as “Segments of One”.

A Stewardship Forum – Featuring UNICEF’s Brand-New Donor Journey
Mary Weingartner, UNICEF 

Meeting of the Minds
favorite Mary Weingartner is still new in her new role as Managing Director, Stewardship for UNICEF USA – and the first-ever in the position.  Hear some of her early thoughts and plans for bringing stewardship to one of the broadest donor bases-of-support of any organization ever, and bring your own stewardship questions and answers for a great stewardship discussion with one of Chicago’s greatest stewardship gurus. 

Thirty Years of FundList: The Most Enduring Ideas Ever Shared
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

Public use of email began in the 1990s.  In 1992, the first online fundraising forum began as a listserv at Johns Hopkins University. For the first time, fundraisers could immediately exchange questions, answers and therapy with each other. Celebrating its 30th year, FundList has thousands of current members and hundreds-of-thousands of alumni. Bob has now been the Fundlist moderator (and janitor) for more than half of its history, and will share his collection of the most useful ideas, examples and words of wisdom from those thirty years. Join him for a multi-channel walk through fundraising history and see a big box of fundraising ideas that have stood the test of time.

Tips & Trends from Record-Breaking Giving Days
Kristi Pease, University of Nebraska Foundation
Colleen Cook, Vinyl Marketing

Giving Days are a tried and true way to engage and acquire donors, especially when it comes to young alumni. But what distinguishes the schools that are achieving record-breaking levels of donors and dollars from those that tread water year after year? In this session Kristi Pease, Senior Director, Marketing and Annual Campaign Operations and Director of Annual Campaigns at University of Nebraska Lincoln and Colleen Cook, Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing break down the strategies and tactics to make your Day of Giving a smashing success.

Women & Philanthropy: Collaborative Leadership Annual Giving
Adrianne Penney and Kelly Brault, Oakland University

In this session, we’ll introduce the Women & Philanthropy program at Oakland University, a collective giving society created in 2018 with the goal of funding meaningful projects on campus while providing members with opportunities for engagement and networking. We’ll discuss how we started, how this process works, things we learned along the way and other applications (young alumni, diversity initiatives, etc). We’ll also talk about audiences, marketing and committees to keep this group engaged, as well as stewardship.

Writing for Annual Giving – A Forum
Shannon Dale, Grand Valley State University
Carol Flanigan, Loyola University Chicago

Two returning “Meeting of the Minds” 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.

Your New Org Chart: Remote Work, Skill Sets, Outsourcing &
Staffing for Success
Ellen Rohwer Pappas, The Zuri Group
Timothy Pappas, Pappas Delaney LLC

A generation of annual giving fundraisers worked in the calling room as students and then were hired by the advancement office.  The advancement services team has watched its solutions, locations and processes evolve as well.  As desired skill sets have expanded, the career paths have become more varied. Where do you find digital fundraisers? What if YOUR skills are a little outdated? What if your best candidate wants to work remotely? When do you share skills among departments? And when do you outsource a job function to a third party?  In a first for the Meeting of the Minds Conference, a husband and wife duo team up to provide two different perspectives on staffing, budgeting, hiring, recruiting, promoting and watching as the org chart quickly evolves to keep up with today’s challenges and opportunities.