Thursday Breakout Sessions

All sessions are Central Time.  

All Friday sessions are at the DePaul Conference Center, 8th Floor, 1 E. Jackson Blvd.

9:00-10:15 a.m. – Breakout Sessions

Leadership Annual Giving – Fundamentals of Personal Engagement and Face-to-Face Fundraising
Ray Watts, Claremont McKenna College
Auditorium Room 8005 

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.

Artificial Intelligence and Advancement: Is This Session For Real?  
Adam Martel, Givzey, Moderator
Room 8002

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.  

Building Trust Around Your Data
Matt Johnson, University of Miami
Room 8010

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.

Get With the Times: A Fresh Take on Student Fundraisers
Jordan Hiatt, VanillaSoft
Room 8009

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!)

10:15-10:30 a.m. – Break

10:30-11:45 a.m. – Breakout Sessions

Donor Experience Officer Programs: Lessons Learned
Melanie Ellis-Roach, Oregon State University Foundation, Kayleen Berwick and Betsy Popelka Massnick, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association
Auditorium Room 8005 

The Oregon State University Foundation and the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association were some of the first institutions in the country to staff and launch a Donor Experience Officer (DXO) fundraising model for leadership annual giving “middle of the pyramid” prospects and gifts. The DXOs in both teams manage portfolios of 500-1,000+ prospects each 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 and four years into it? In this session, you’ll hear the similarities and differences between two programs born out of different structures and environments. Melanie, Betsy, and Kayleen will give a review, reflections, and advice on how you can right-size a DXO program for your institution.

A Healthcare Annual Giving Forum:
Patients, Physicians, Providers, Policies, and Pipelines
Leah Evanchuck, University Hospitals (Cleveland)and Meredith Howell, UChicago Medicine and Biological Sciences
Room 8002

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.

Empowering Gifts Officers – They, Too, Can Touch the Data!
Bob Rickards, St. Norbert College
Room 8010

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.

Straw People, Curious Chameleons, and Building* Your Career
(*A primer on how to plan a career leading others)
Kent Stanley, University of Minnesota, Mankato
Room 8009

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.

11:45-1:15 p.m. – Lunch on Your Own

1:15-2:30 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

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
Auditorium Room 8005 

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.

“Plannual” Giving: The Shared Synergies and Strategies Fundraising for Annual Gifts and Planned Gifts

Ray Watts, Claremont McKenna College
Room 8002

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.

Herding Cats & Lions: Managing the Information Flow All Around Your Organization
Robin Schneider, DePaul University (Moderator)
Room 8010

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.

Digital Gift Agreements for Every Level of Giving
Adam Martel, Givzey
Room 8009

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.

2:30-2:45 p.m. – Break

2:45-3:45 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

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
Auditorium Room 8005 

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.

Investing in Engagement, the Key to an Effective Engagement Center
Nicole Zaayer, Mitch Fogt, and Tracey Fox, The Ohio State University Alumni Association Engagement Center with Legends, Jeff Pacini, Legends, Claire Badger, Ohio State University Advancement
Room 8002

Join the Legends team as they talk about how their 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.

Gift Acceptance, or, A Donor Wants to Give Us What?
John Taylor, John H. Taylor Consulting
Room 8010

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!

Surrogate Stewardship & Donor Relations:
When the Donor Isn’t the Donor (or Received Substantial Benefits)
Melissa Mares Stambor, Catholic Charities, Elizabeth Tavares, Loyola University
Room 8009

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

3:45-4:00 p.m. – Break

4:00-5:00 p.m. – Breakout Sessions

Writing for Annual Giving 
Shannon Dale, Grand Valley State University
Auditorium Room 8005 

Our popular “Meeting of the Minds” wordsmith 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.

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
Room 8002

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.

IRS (and State) Sticky Wickets
John Taylor, John H. Taylor Consulting, LLC
Room 8010

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

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
Room 8009

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.