2023 Conference Sessions

Here are the confirmed sessions to-date for this year’s 2023 MMOTM conference – check back for the latest session announcements.  We will have more than thirty sessions!

Opening Plenary Session:
Be Mindful:  All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss…
Welcome, Introductions and Conference Highlights
Bob Burdenski, John Taylor and Other Greeters TBA

We’ll launch the 2023 “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.

Opening Plenary Session:
Life After US News: What Next for Alumni Participation?

Liz Sullivan, Northwestern University, John Templeman, Cleveland State University, Ray Watts Claremont McKenna College, Erin Allen, University of Missouri

The US News and World Report Best Colleges and Universities Rankings has eliminated annual alumni giving percentage as a metric in its ratings formula. What does this mean for the importance of annual alumni giving? Is a “broad base of support” still our goal? Will alumni giving participation still be an institutional point of pride? Join a panel from a range of institutions for an opening discussion about alumni participation as a goal in the wake of the USNWR decision.

Opening Plenary Session:
Advancement Services Strategies:
A Reference Guide for Advancement Professionals – LIVE!

John Taylor and Chapter Contributors: Lynne Wester, Elisa Shoenberger, Ann Kaplan, Gail Ferris, Jon Thorsen, Kirsten Reppert, Eric Valdescaro, and Maureen Procopio

CASE has just released the 4th edition of its classic resource Advancement Services Strategies: A Reference Guide for Advancement Professionals, edited (as always) by our very own John Taylor. John will convene a live hybrid discussion with many of the contributing authors from the book, highlighting some of the important elements from the new 4th edition, and some takeaways that have stood the test of time.

Artificial Intelligence and Advancement: Is This Session For Real?  
Adam Martel, Givzey, Moderator

Join AI-in-advancement thought leader Adam Martel for an open forum on the ways AI is integrating into annual giving, advancement services and more.  Bring your already-implemented uses, your planned or potential uses, and all your questions for this open discussion.  

Alumni/Donor/Member/Friend Engagement Metrics – What Are They, How Do You Track Them, and What Do You Do With the Data Once You Have It?
John Taylor, John H. Taylor Consulting (Moderator), with with Bob Rickards, St. Norbert College, and JoHanna Young, Manchester University

We will begin the conversation by reviewing CASE’s Alumni Engagement Metrics (AEM) initiative and survey and understand why, nationally, institutions are looking at engagement metrics as a broader measure of an organization’s success. Participation still matters but does not tell the whole story. We will hear from organizations dabbling with these measurements and learn how they came up with their formula. We will conclude with an open discussion to answer the question, “Now that we have all this data, what’s next?’

Building Trust Around Your Data
Matt Johnson, University of Miami

In today’s world, data is more important than ever for fundraising professionals. But your data is only as useful as it can be trusted by your users. Whether it be shadow databases or ad hoc queries from unknown sources, mistrust in data can cause major problems and slow down a successful fundraising operation. This session will discuss the key components for building trust around your data, from building sound relationships between the support staff and frontline fundraisers to establishing data governance and transparency policies. This session will interest both operations staff that want to foster more trust in their data and data consumers that want access to data they can trust.

Digital Gift Agreements for Every Level of Giving
Adam Martel, Givzey

Did you know that more than 96% of donors with pledge agreements fulfill their gifts on time and it’s all immediately bookable revenue? Imagine what you could do with that ability to forecast, what your fundraisers could do without having to re-solicit gifts, and how much donors would appreciate not being chased for a gift. However, the typical way pledges work is extremely manual and therefore not scalable. In this talk, Adam Martel will show you fundraising’s first Gift Agreement Platform, a platform that standardizes, digitizes, and automates the gift and pledge agreement process for donors of all giving levels. See how quickly fundraisers can formalize and document a donor’s intent, how leadership can increase bookable revenue while reporting to the board, and how the donor experience gets a one-click upgrade. Come learn how anyone who makes 1-to-1 solicitations can accelerate fundraising with Digital Gift Agreements.Direct Mail: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics
Sara Pond and Matt Sulzer, MCR

Is it time to spice up your approach? Direct mail is fundamental to building the donor pipeline, but with new channels in the mix it may be time to revisit your mail strategy. Join this conversation to discuss printing hallmarks that target the right people, grab donor attention, calendar the project, and integrate storytelling to optimize results. Attendees will receive free samples from other institutions and gain insights on:
✔ Audiences – segmenting, engagement, personalization
✔ Calendaring – channel integration, production, timing
✔ Design – photos, layout, color
✔ Packaging – envelopes, paper stocks, inserts

Donor Data Beyond Your Backyard
Liz Sullivan, Northwestern University

Northwestern has its own useful internal prospect scoring models, but has augmented its data with additional external third-party information. Hear what they’re accessing, how it’s being used, and how it’s added a new window on prospect identification and segmentation strategies.

Donor Experience Officer Programs: Lessons Learned
Melanie Ellis-Roach, Oregon State University Foundation and Betsy Popelka Massnick,
Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association

The Oregon State University Foundation was one of the first institutions in the country to staff and launch a Digital Engagement Officer (DXO) fundraising model for leadership annual giving “middle of the pyramid” prospects and gifts. The program staff each have portfolios of 1,000+ prospects and use digital tools including Zoom, video and other social media — as well as more traditional channels — in their work. What are their observations after three years into it? Melanie will give a review, reflections and advice on how you can right-size a DXO program for your institution.

Email Fundraising + Digital Analytics Bootcamp
Beth Hatcher, Beth Interactive

You’ve overcome the “send sweats,” and your email is in inboxes! So what happens next? All about email fundraising, this interactive workshop will cover strategies to take your email communications to the next level—and how to leverage post-campaign engagement data to drive greater giving. We’ll walk you through the latest email fundraising best practices, advanced analytics and A/B testing. We’ll also present case studies on how emails can build a donor pipeline through acquisition and engagement. Finally, we’ll provide practical tools like an email send checklist and library of samples, so that you can begin implementing your new ideas right away. Participants can even get live feedback on their email campaigns, with guidance on copy, design and fundraising strategy! Just send your sample in advance to beth@bethinteractive.com. Join us for this instructive bootcamp—and walk away full of actionable and practical next steps to see real results with your next email campaign.

Empowering Gifts Officers – They, Too, Can Touch the Data!
Bob Rickards, St. Norbert College

Data quality is essential for effective decision-making in any office setting. In today’s world, data can come from various internal and external sources. Consequently, a large part of a data protection strategy is ensuring that few people have access to changing or updating information. If data is stored in a way that is secure, accessible, and scalable, then why can’t we open it up to allow others to maintain and change data? If we develop a framework to involve the necessary stakeholders by managing the change process, leveraging current technology aids, and creating processes to correct issues quickly, what stops us from opening up the system? We must decide where the value is located: action items and opportunities or accuracy of biographical information. A good records management program allows an organization to assimilate new technologies and take advantage of their many benefits. See how St. Norbert College maximizes systems and processes to improve data flow and increase efficiency while increasing fundraising effectiveness.

A Faculty/Staff Fundraising Forum
Jessica Tedamrongwanish, Milwaukee School of Engineering

With a faculty and staff appeal that first began during COVID lockdown and has now grown to more than 50% participation, MSOE has a great fundraising story to tell. Hear from Jessica how they did it, and bring your own questions and answers to thid faculty and staff giving forum.

Favorites From the 24th Annual Giving Appeal and Idea Exchange
Bob Burdenski

For 24 years, Bob Burdenski has hosted an annual exchange where hundreds of institutions share thousands of annual giving innovations, ideas and success stories. 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 3-time CASE Innovations in Annual Giving author Bob Burdenski dump out his bag of BOB (Best of the Bunch) favorites for some of the clever fundraising ideas of the year.

Frontline Fundraising for Introverts
Carol Flanigan, UChicago Booth School of Business

As an introverted annual giving professional, Carol could ask thousands of people at a time for a gift through email, but the thought of asking one person over coffee was terrifying. She thought for years that she “just wasn’t cut out” for frontline fundraising. Until she made the move out from behind mass appeals to one-on-one solicitations, and where she was happy to discover the stereotype of outgoing, charming, schmoozing gift officers was all wrong. The way introverts and extroverts approach their work might look different, but they can both be top-notch fundraisers. You’ll identify those introvert talents and skills that bring fundraising success, and learn how to set up a visit and outreach structure that will lead to meaningful gifts–not burnout. Asking face-to-face might still be a little scary, but it’s a lot easier and more fulfilling with the right mindset. A session for the Quiet and anyone who manages them.

Get With the Times: A Fresh Take on Student Fundraisers
Jordan Hiatt, VanillaSoft

As donor fatigue continues to become more and more apparent in annual giving shops across the country, the key to reengaging your alumni is right in your backyard — the new era of student gift officers is upon us! In this session we will take a deeper dive into how to make the most of your student fundraisers by recruiting across campus to target niche alumni bases, utilizing a “slingshot” method in cultivation, and instilling a culture of philanthropy within your institution. (Not “just” another phonathon session!)

Gift Acceptance, or, A Donor Wants to Give Us What?
John Taylor, John H. Taylor Consulting

Increasingly donors are attempting to donate unique, and not always desired, forms of non-cash gifts. This session will focus on establishing protocols and policies to facilitate these gifts’ acceptance or rejection. John will approach this topic from smaller and larger shop perspectives as these issues arise regardless of the size or the nonprofit industry. We’ll look at gifts of securities and the IRS’s concern regarding related versus unrelated gifts of property. We’ll conclude with a lightning round covering a dozen or so other forms of non-standard gifts – including cryptocurrency!

Gift Processing 101 A Panel Discussion
Elizabeth Tavares, Loyola University (Moderator), with Bob Rickards, St. Norbert College, and John Taylor

This “audience participation” session will attempt to answer fundamental gift processing and entry questions that have raised concerns for decades! We will begin by asking the audience to list the gift processing issues rearing their ugly heads in day-to-day gift processing. The panel will try to suggest solutions to those conundrums and reflect on national best practices. The panel will also come prepared to discuss various topics, including gift dates, receipt requirements, gift processing metrics, copying/scanning requirements, and recurring giving issues, among others. You are encouraged to email your discussion topics ahead of time if you prefer to be anonymous!

A Giving Days Forum: Extended Days, Additional Days, Giving Tuesdays, Google Analytics, Multichannel Metrics, Dean Diplomacy and More
Danielle Hupp MPA, Kent State University and Josh Wolfgang, University of Wisconsin

Many giving day fundraising programs are now ten years old or more – and the timing, the duration, the metrics, the purposes, methods and more have all changed and evolved over that time. Join us for a giving day check-in: How do you (continue to) define success? What about Giving Tuesday? How do you achieve campus cooperation? What if we did this more than once a year? And for more than 24 hours? Join Danielle and Josh for a giving day forum.

A Healthcare Annual Giving Forum:
Patients, Physicians, Providers, Policies, and Pipelines
Leah Evanchuck, University Hospitals (Cleveland) and Meredith Howell, UChicago Medicine and Biological Sciences

Healthcare institutions offer their own challenges (HIPAA) and opportunities (grateful patients, healthcare professionals, companies and the community) for annual giving fundraising. Join Leah and Meredith for a special annual giving forum all about healthcare.

Herding Cats & Lions: Managing the Information Flow All Around Your Organization
Robin Schneider, DePaul University (Moderator)

How do you encourage/facilitate/manage a two-way flow of information between the front-line and senior leadership? Robin will lead a discussion on tips and tricks that make information flow easier and more effective between those doing the work and those expecting results, including VPs, EDs, Presidents, CEOs, Deans, and department heads.

How Do You Do Advancement Services in a Small Shop?
JoHanna Young, Manchester University, and Melissa Mares Stambor, Catholic Charities of Chicago

Has your small advancement shop only gotten smaller? You’re not alone. As budgets get tighter and staff size continues to shrink, the task of simply maintaining a database can become daunting, let alone attempting to innovate and improve. This session will focus on the ways we’ve tackled these challenges, including but not limited to campaign preparation and execution, engagement metrics, prospect management, data updates, annual fund outreach, and financial forecasting.

How to Talk Good -or- Crafting a Message that will Connect with Donors
Josh Agee, Vinyl Marketing

Sometimes, it can feel like the messages you send out to your donor base end up somewhere near the darkest corner of a bottomless void. You put in so much work, but the results just aren’t what they could be. But, what if you could say the right thing, at the right time, to the right person? That’s what this talk is all about. You’ll learn how to identify your donors’ specific motivations and what really spurs them to action, how brand and donor personalities factor into the equation, how to turn empathy into your go-to superpower, why good cadences are necessary for winning both hearts and minds, and so much more.

Investing in Engagement, the Key to an Effective Engagement Center
Nicole Zaayer, and the Legends + Ohio State University Team

Join the Legends team as they talk about how our approach of investing in engagement has allowed OSU to create and replicate the truly successful modern Engagement Center. They talk through common problems of a transactional call center and how, with an adaptive and relational approach, you can revolutionize your constituent and employee experience.

IRS (and State) Sticky Wickets
John Taylor, John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC

This session will focus on the complex legal issues that can impact gift solicitation and gift acceptance by your organization. We will cover the following:
✔ State Fundraising Registration Requirements
✔ Binding & Non-Binding Pledges
✔ Donor-Advised Fund and Family Foundation Issues
✔ Quid Pro Quo
✔ Corporate Sponsorships
✔ Raffles & Auctions

Launching the Longhorn Digital Ambassadors: Authentic Video Donor Engagement
Justin Killingsworth, UT Austin and Justin Ware, firstname.co

Authentic, video-driven storytelling drives fundraising. That’s the theory behind the University of Texas Austin’s Longhorn Digital Ambassador program. As UT Austin moves past the pandemic and back to business as usual, the LDA program is bringing alumni and donors back into the fold through compelling, personalized video content. Hear from UT Austin annual giving leadership and partner company firstname.co on…
✔ How to build a student video fundraising team from scratch
✔ How to increase engagement with authentic video at scale
✔ Building a pipeline of talented young fundraisers

Leadership Annual Giving – Fundamentals of Personal Engagement and Face-to-Face Fundraising
Ray Watts, Claremont McKenna College

Annual Giving is a dynamic and changing field, no longer solely focused on mass marketing through direct mail and student phonathons. The “new normal” for annual giving is a team-centered approach with a group of individuals who have personal prospect portfolios and expectations of much more face-to-face identification, cultivation and solicitation work. This workshop will be structured in an interactive format, with a focus on real-time learning and specific coaching. Come prepared to share experiences and learn strategies and tactics to make you a better development professional as you get on the road and work with donors one-on-one.

Management/Leadership/Career Coaching Session
Kent Stanley, University of Minnesota, Mankato

Session description to follow.

Parent and Family Fundraising – A Check-In and Check-Up
Bob Burdenski with Amber Bruner-Allicock, Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi and Lauren Suitors, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The tuition bill keeps going up and the pandemic didn’t help much, either. They’ll still answer the phone when your students call, but getting their contact information can be a major problem. And they may not like supporting your scholarship fund. What’s the current state of parent engagement and annual giving fundraising, and what success stories and good ideas can be found? Join Bob for a look at some latest parent and family annual giving examples and ideas, and an open discussion on parent and family fundraising.

“Plannual” Giving: The Shared Synergies and Strategies Fundraising for Annual Gifts and Planned Gifts
Ray Watts, Claremont McKenna College

Long-loyal (and often little) annual giving donors are some of the best planned gift prospects, yet there aren’t always clear integrations and strategies as we’re fundraising for both. Join Ray for a discussion about how to raise all boats with effective ideas for “plannual” giving.

Playing to the Crowd – Getting the Most Out of Crowdfunding
Ramona Maza, University of Illinois, Chicago

Join UIC’s Ramona Maza and learn about UIC’s Flames Funded crowdfunding platform — including its use for UIC event fundraising. Then, share your own crowdfunding victories and challenges as Ramona will lead a discussion on the latest good ideas and strategies for crowdfunding success.

Ready or Not, Here Comes Change!
Actions You Can Take Today to Stay Ahead of the Curve
Chelsea Lamego and Alejandro Stevenson-Duran, FundMiner,
and Annie Quade, University of Texas at El Paso

Whether we’re ready for it or not, rapid change is upon us. Our global economy, interconnectedness, transparency expectations, and new technologies require that we, in Advancement, adjust as well. Join us in a conversation that explores some of these emerging trends, what they mean to us in Advancement, and tactical ways to transform your organizations and our industry.

The Recurring Riddle of Regular Giving Programs
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

We’ve chased the elusive, effective recurring giving program for years. We’re proud that we can set up a recurring gift, but most educational institutions (and other not-for-profits) still struggle to attract significant numbers of recurring gift (monthly or otherwise) donors. There are successes to be found in other sectors (PBS) and even other countries (UK). What are the obstacles – and solutions – here in the U.S.? Come and see a collection of recurring giving strategies for promoting, stewarding, recognizing and sustaining a recurring donor base. Bob will share a range of samples from a variety of institutions.

Straw People, Curious Chameleons, and Building* Your Career
(*A primer on how to plan a career leading others)
Kent Stanley, University of Minnesota, Mankato

At the beginning of our careers we get paid to perform tasks, but the further a career advances the more we get paid to lead others. For many this transition is challenging. In this session we’ll discuss why it’s crucial to your success (and the team you lead) that you know what you believe about the work you do, understanding the Straw Job and Curious Chameleon concepts, and keys to retaining talented colleagues.

Surrogate Stewardship & Donor Relations:
When the Donor Isn’t the Donor (or Received Substantial Benefits)
Melissa Mares Stambor, Catholic Charities, Elizabeth Tavares, Loyola University

Generous donors give our organizations so much, but what do they get in return? And what can you give them in return when they really aren’t the donor? When donors receive a benefit—tchotchkes, fancy dinners, branded swag, or other gifts—we must ensure that those benefits are documented appropriately and fall within IRS guidelines. This session will explore common scenarios where donors are receiving benefits in exchange for their contributions, what to do when the donor is a DAF or a private foundation, and how charities can best navigate these situations:
✔ Gift receipts
✔ Right-sizing stewardship gifts
✔ Special Events (and invitation lists)
✔ Recognition
✔ And your unique questions

UNICEF’s First-Ever Donor Stewardship Program – How’s It Going One Year In?
Mary Weingartner, UNICEF

At last year’s “Meeting of the Minds,” Mary was new on the job as UNICEF’s first-ever Managing Director of Donor Stewardship, after years in higher education stewardship at the University of Chicago. One year in, how is it going? And what perspectives does Mary have about the similarities, differences and challenges compared with her experiences in education fundraising. A far-ranging discussion featuring UNICEF — one of the nation’s largest non-profit donor populations.

What’s Missing in Digital Fundraising? …and How do We Mitigate this?
Melanie Ellis-Roach, Oregon State University Foundation, Julia Tauriello and Caleb Landmesser, University of Pittsburgh

This past January, a group of digital fundraising enthusiasts kicked off its first-ever Digital Fundraising Summit with a live 2-hour Zoom meeting to discuss emerging best practice for digital engagement officers (DXOs), digital gift officers and anyone using online tools and channels with gift prospects. The Digital Fundraising Summit wants you to join THEM in the future, so they’re joining the Meeting of the Minds for a special live hybrid get-together.

Writing for Annual Giving 
Shannon Dale, Grand Valley State University

Our popular “Meeting of the Minds” wordsmith returns to 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.