2019 Session Descriptions

More sessions are being added!
We’re going to have more than 40,  so check back!


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 2019 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, occasionally in conflict,  but always working in support of philanthropic goals, annual giving and advancement services offices, these play a critical role in advancement success.  Join Bob and John as they provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come.


Closing Plenary Session:
A Closing Crystal Ball – What Just Happened and What’s Ahead?
Bob Burdenski and John Taylor, Conference co-Chairs

John and Bob will end the 2019 Meeting of the Minds Conference with their annual rundown of the top issues, trends and challenges facing our fundraising profession.  They’ll offer their predictions on what we’ll be facing by the time next year’s conference rolls around, and what’s even further on the horizon for annual giving and advancement services.  A festive send-off to celebrate a great conference.


Networking For Advancement:  How to Win at Tonight’s Reception
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

Annual giving and advancement services professionals sometimes prefer (and frankly, may be best-suited to) closing the door to their offices and producing gift appeals and gift reports.  However, many of us are challenged (and required) in our work to meet and network with donors, prospects, colleagues and others in public settings.  Networking is both an art and a science, and it’s a valuable skill for any role in today’s fundraising world.  You don’t have to be a “people person” to maximize your “strategic networking experience,” and you might even have more fun too!  Learn how to “work the room”; fundraising-forward and agony-free, and put some new tips into practice at the conference welcome reception that immediately follows.


*NEW: Podcasts on the Patio
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

Join Bob Burdenski for a different conference experience as he enjoys some one-on-one chats with conference speakers, sponsors, and other attendees.  Learn about their annual giving programs, strategies, and solutions — and you’re welcome to join in!   Have a laugh and learn a few things too, in a relaxed atmosphere outside on the Kellogg Center patio.


Prospect Management:
Portfolio Prioritization and Analysis, and Pipeline Development

Armik Allen, California Lutheran University

It’s one thing to find prospects, and another to research them. Then what? Far too often these valuable leads get lost in the shuffle. Join Armik, a national expert in the field of prospect development, as she shows you how to:
• Evaluate portfolio capacity
• Focus fundraisers on cultivating the right prospects
• Devise tools that tell you where and how to deploy fundraising resources
• Forecast fundraising results with pinpoint accuracy


Self-Service Business Intelligence Dashboards
Armik Allen, California Lutheran University

Bring out your inner data artist! Create graphs, charts, and other visual tools to explain complex data to fundraisers, advancement management, and volunteer boards. In this session Armik will show you how your strategies and statistics can be streamlined so that your organization’s productivity can soar!


A Phonathon Forum
Deanna Amaya, California State University, Long Beach
Kamalei Lee, Pitzer College

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.


How to Write a WINNING CASE Award Submission
Kelly Best, University of California, Davis

Have you always wanted to nominate a project for a CASE award, but weren’t sure where to start or what to write? Not sure how likely it is that your project will win? Tasked with nominating a project that is not your own? Join Kelly as she breaks down her method for crafting the submission packets that have won 11 consecutive CASE awards for the University of California – from District VII Bronze to Global Platinum.  In addition to sharing her “winning” formula, Kelly will also give you a rundown of the different award programs and provide take-away tools to help strategize your writing, no matter your role in the project.  More demonstration than prescription, this presentation honors individual writing styles, while also offering some universal truths (and feelings) about how to bring all the “wow!” and medal magnetism to this ubiquitous yet unique-to-advancement communication product.


Strategic Communications:  Leadership Practices for Successful Change Management
Wayne Combs

In this session, join Wayne to explore communication strategies that leaders use to successfully navigate change in their organizations. Learn to identify the components for building a strategic communications plan and how to develop a communications map for understanding the dynamics, strengths and weakness in an organization’s structure. These practices are not limited to epic changes, such as reorganizations and system conversions, but also for new policies that may impact culture and staff motivation.


Leading The Way:  Transitioning From Individual Contributor to Leader
Laurent “Lo” DeJanvry, University of California, Berkeley

Whether your transitioning into a new leadership role or taking on your first, come learn and discuss how to hit the ground running and lead a high-performance team to greatness!


Building Your Prospect Pipeline for Future Campaign Success
Laurent “Lo” DeJanvry, University of California, Berkeley

In this session, you will learn how to leverage predictive donor models, automate prospect outreach, and create new engagement opportunities to  strategically fill your leadership prospect pipeline.


Things To Know, and Things To Forget:  The Fast-Changing Fundraising World of Digital Audiences, Data Privacy and the GDPR (OMG)
Rodger Devine, University of Southern California
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

For several years, Bob Burdenski has shared stories at MOTM about the data privacy laws that have impacted annual giving fundraising in the UK and Europe.  Now, California has a new data privacy law; the U.S. Congress is holding hearings about data privacy legislation; and overseas annual giving continues to be significantly impacted by the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).  At the same time, Facebook and the rest of the digital domain have opened new audience identification and prospect segmentation possibilities.  What opportunities should you think about, and what new and potential restrictions do you need to know about?  Join Bob and USC business intelligence guru Rodger Devine for an update on the laws, the legislation, the ethics, the headlines, the public opinion, and the horizon for data privacy and annual giving fundraising.


Engaging Constituents Abroad:  What to do in Advance, What to Know on the Road
Gretchen Dobson, Ed.D., Academic Assembly, Inc.

Internationalization – or Globalization – on campuses around the world is an opportunity for an integrated engagement strategy that supports international student and scholar recruitment; international academic partnerships; and the development of key regions where international alumni and friends are engaged in sustainable, meaningful, and relevant ways. Alumni, donors, institutional partners, and other allies need to understand your institution’s international story. That story is best told by traveling abroad.  This interactive session is based upon Gretchen’s book, The International Travel Handbook: Engaging Constituents Abroad (Academic Impressions, 2014). In this session, she will review four key areas for successfully doing business abroad: assessing preparedness, advance preparation principles, volunteer management, and going global with events and campaign planning. This session aims to educate, inform, and motivate best practices abroad.


Showcasing Your Value:  Prospect Development as a Revenue Generator in the Age of Big Data
Nathan Fay, City of Hope

With increased awareness of the value and pivotal role that data plays in philanthropy organizations across the globe, more and more shops are investing in their dataverses to increase organizational effectiveness and bring more dollars in the door. In order to manage this endeavor, there is an arising need for someone at the table who understands the organization’s data and can translate that into revenue through delivering actionable intelligence that is digestible to senior leadership and development professionals. Historically underrepresented at the AVP and VP levels, prospect development is currently being invited more and more to the table. Come hear about Nathan’s journey from researcher to senior leadership and learn how to position yourself and your shop to receive an invitation to the table.


Adamant Adversaries to Problem-Solving Partners:
An Advancement Services and Annual Giving Tale
Becky Ferguson, Meg Padovani, and Michelle Poesy, University of California, Davis

Do you feel like your advancement services shop doesn’t understand you? Do you feel like your annual giving team needs too much? We understand. The annual giving team at UC Davis have been there and they are here to tell you your differences ARE reconcilable. Annual giving and advancement services at UC Davis came to a critical point where advancement services was tired and annual giving needs weren’t being met. Becky, Meg and Michelle are here to share their top down approach where unit leadership worked together to understand the priorities and challenges on both sides. Through a lot of listening and discussion, their top down approach allowed them to change not only the way they thought, but also implement technical solutions to change the way they work.

In this session, Becky, Meg and Michelle will also share their technical developments which moved them from manually manipulating thousands of rows in spreadsheets, lacking accuracy, and an ability to deliver on-time to a space with flexibility for many segments and expansion into 85% of their 800,000-entity database. They had to have their technology back their “more-is-more” approach to data delivery and they built a web application where no VLOOKUP has gone before:  The Annual Fund Toolkit.


What is it About International Data That Makes it So Darn Difficult?
Amanda Garvin-Adicoff, University of California, Davis

Is your international data a mess? Do you have trouble using it to organize events, send mail, or reach donors over the phone? Are you afraid to clean your data for fear that you’ll just make it worse? In this session, Amanda will discuss what she and her team learned from their journey towards cleaner international data and how they made it available and consumable for the customers who need it the most. She will also discuss why cleaning international data is so important and which vendors can help you clean it the best. You will leave this session with practical tools for improving your valuable data, letting go of what isn’t important, and figuring out which is which.


How to Amplify Your Millennial Giving
Brian Gawor, Ruffalo Noel Levitz

For many organizations, giving really lags for donors in their 20’s. We hear about the impact of real issues for our millennial donors: from high student debt, to rejection of large institutions, to a focus on more exciting causes. How can we adapt to a changing giving generation and really excite young donors to join us in annual and major giving? It is possible, because this is one of the most cause-oriented generations—they just do things differently. Ruffalo Noel Levitz’s study of over 1 million young alumni – their giving behaviors, preferences and consumer behavior can help. Join Brian to learn about the ways to excite and delight your young donors and alumni to give more, and more often.


Creating Successful Micro-Funding Strategies for Improving Annual Giving Results
Howard Heevner, UC Santa Cruz

Giving days have bloomed across the country.  Schools of all size now participate in these days and these days have the ability to dramatically impact the outcomes of your fundraising efforts. We will look at the various models of giving days and a decision making criteria on what model might work for your institution. As part of this session we will review the impact of a micro-strategy giving Day and subsequent giving weeks to drive growth in all types of donors at UC Santa Cruz.


A Leadership Annual Giving Forum
Chere Hooks and Nick Kennedy, USC Dornsife Advancement

Chere and Nick will provide an overview of the USC Dornsife leadership annual giving program, and then facilitate a discussion of all things leadership giving.  How are your prospects selected?  How do you secure appointments?   What’s the conversation agenda?  What materials do you use, if any?  Is there a direct marketing component to your leadership giving program?   And what’s the stewardship?  Bring your best questions, your success stories, and your leadership annual giving ideas to this discussion.


Anatomy of a Direct Mail Program
Diana Keim, City of Hope

City of Hope has a complex direct mail program that includes everything from tote bags to newsletters to mid-level giving prospectus mailings, to corporate-sponsored matching gift challenges. and a lot in between.  Learn how a non-educational institution approaches direct mail as a fundraising channel, and bring your own direct mail questions and success stories too.


A Crowdfunding Forum
Ryan Lawrence, University of California, Berkeley

In this session, Ryan Lawrence will provide an overview of UC Berkeley’s enormous — and enormously-successful — crowdfunding program, and will moderate a discussion of your crowdfunding questions, strategies and solutions.   Come and hear how Berkeley has raised more than $1 million for projects across campus, and bring your own crowdfunding success stories or frustrations!  Whether crowdfunding is an established part of your fundraising program, or your’re giving it some thought, come and hear from a group how crowdfunding fits into their fundraising goals.


If You Can’t Reach ‘Em, Text ‘Em!
Ryan Lawrence, UC Berkeley and Emily Neigel, Relay

In an era of information overload, you likely find yourself in constant competition for your alumni’s attention. In this session, UC Berkeley’s Associate Director of Digital Philanthropy, Ryan Lawrence, and Emily Neigel, Higher Ed Manager at Relay will discuss how P2P texting can help you meet alumni where they are at– on their cell phones!


A Paperless Office: Tips and Tricks
Anita Lawson and Michael Cocks, Los Angeles Philharmonic

Come hear how the development operations team at the L.A. Philharmonic is having a positive impact across the organization with their cost and time-saving initiatives to go paperless.


Breaking Through to New Audiences: Increasing Participation Through Peer Engagement
Kestrel Linder, GiveCampus

The days when donors would send a check simply based on their institutional loyalty are fading. Today’s donors (especially millennials) want to know that their gift is making an impact and that they are part of a community helping to move the institution forward. Kestrel will illuminate the case study against a backdrop of data drawn from the digital fundraising of 550+ schools (K-12 and higher ed) and encompassing more than $150 million in online giving by more than 1.5 million donors.

During this session, you’ll learn how to:
– Think creatively about how they can empower their volunteers and cross-campus stakeholders to become advocates for the institution and help increase engagement and participation.
– More effectively use tools available to all institutions (e.g. Facebook, digital video, Apple Pay, etc.) to better reach and empower their communities online.

Join Kestrel as he demonstrates the solution that GiveCampus built that can be scaled to just about any annual giving program. He’ll even dive into a few processes that they were able to automate to keep their most important data points as accurate as possible.


Leveraging Wealth and Giving Screening Results for Powerful Annual Giving Strategies
Jennifer Liu-Cooper, Donor Search

In today’s day and age, we have access to more information and new databases than ever before. We have better resources, improved technology and more industry knowledge. So, how do we take advantage of all of this powerful data to leverage screening results? In this session we will talk about the benefits of batch screening results and how they surface key indicators of donor loyalty, capacity and giving interests. By applying industry accepted concepts about annual donor characteristics in combination with screening data attendees will learn how to efficiently target the prospect pools with the greatest potential for sustained support.

This session will also cover the key indicators of annual giving potential and how DonorSearch calculates an Annual Fund likelihood score using internal and external variables to identify prospects or donors that are most likely to give through an annual fund campaign. Attendees will discover how to refine their screening results and build robust and actionable Annual Fund prospect portfolios using the data they already have.

Key Objectives:
-Defining who are potential annual giving donors
-Key indicators of donor loyalty, capacity and giving interests
-How to screen data efficiently and find the top results for sustained support
-Top Indicators of annual giving potential
-How to refine and efficiently build an actionable Annual Fund Strategy


Using Your Call Center to Qualify Leads for Gift Officer Portfolios
Mary Stivender, University of California, Berkeley

Looking for new ways to leverage your calling program?  UC Berkeley has started an Annual Fund Qualification program that engages experienced student callers in qualification phone calls with specially selected donors. Initial contact is made via an email campaign where donors indicate their interest. Then students take the time on calls to engage, listen, and capture the donor’s interests, creating a personal connection that results in immediate gifts or referrals to gift officers.


Dig Deep to Elevate Your Message
Christina Nichols, MCR

Highly interactive session will help you dig into your institution’s “why” to elevate the message you use to solicit support. Attendees will walk away with a useful tool for digging into the story(ies) they tell.


DIY Volunteers and 3rd-Party Event Fundraising: A Case Study
Emily Parris Sandler, City of Hope and Tyler Varing, USC Dornsife

Join Emily Parris Sandler and Tyler Varing as they discuss the benefits of a robust DIY fundraising program. They’ll explore the keys to success for 3rd party events through examining the Varing Classic, a 3rd-party event benefiting City of Hope. As a professional fundraiser, but also a 3rd party event organizer, Tyler will offer a unique perspective on what it takes to successfully organize and execute a 3rd party event and together they’ll discuss how institutions can best support event organizers.


What Does it Mean to be an Advancement Services Professional?
John Taylor (Host), Wayne Combs, Anita Lawson, and Jessica Schrider LaBorde (Panel Members)

Join four current AASP Board members (2 of which were Board Presidents) in a discussion regarding the advancement services profession. More specifically, they will discuss the evolution they have observed of the profession since its creation nearly 30 years ago. Especially germane to the discussion will be a review of AS leadership characteristics, professional development, and educational backgrounds desirable (essential?) to succeed in this profession going forward. Come pick their brains (what’s left of them) since they have “been around the block” a few times in this critical profession.


Crafting a Story that Inspires
Lynne Wester, Donor Relations Guru

We all know about the power of a good story in fundraising, but why are they so powerful? What is it about the human brain and how it works that makes a story so critical to the decision-making process? In this session, Lynne will teach you about structuring and crafting your stories to create more engaging and emotionally compelling stories that will grab your donors and supporters. You’ll also learn how to find stories and create compelling characters that your donors will fall in love with and want to support. Come hear about how the fine art of creating compelling stories will forward the mission of your organization.


What is the Donor Experience Like with your Online Site?
Lynne Wester, Donor Relations Guru

You probably spend most of your time thinking about developing compelling campaigns on and offline, finding new ways to engage supporters, and maintaining relationship with donors. The design and content of your online giving site is probably the last on your list. Yet, studies have shown that a well-optimized donation page can help you convert visitors into donors. Join Lynne as she examines the Live Online Giving Challenge! Bring your URL and a sense of humor as you and Lynne (and the rest of the session attendees) attempt to make gifts together to see what the “donor experience” is really like!


More sessions are being added! Stay tuned…