2020 Sessions

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 2020 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 2020 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.

Five at Four:  An Annual Giving Roundtable
Bob Burdenski (Moderator)
Panel TBA

An end-of-the-day panel discussion about all annual giving topics, including phonathons, Facebook, data privacy, alumni giving participation, the 1%, and much more!

Podcasts on the Patio
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving and Brian Gawor, RNL

Join Bob and Brian for a different conference experience as they enjoy some two-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 Conference Center patio.

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.

What’s Next For Giving Days – A Giving Day Forum
Moderator TBA

Bring your giving day success stories, challenges, questions, and predictions for the future.

Creating a Culture of Engagement and Giving
Tessa Burke, iModules

Research shows that engagement leads to giving and helps to build your potential donor base. 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 relationship between alumni engagement and giving while sharing examples of email marketing, events, and online giving campaigns. Come ready to share the successes and struggles your institution has faced related to your digital engagement efforts and uncover opportunities for giving and engagement growth.

An Alumni Engagement Forum
Moderator TBA

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.

A Leadership Annual Giving Forum
Moderator TBA

Discussions will include: 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.

A Crowdfunding Forum
Moderator TBA

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.

“Right-Sizing” Your Phonathon Program
Rob Schlitts, Wilson-Bennett Technology, Inc.

As the world of telephone fundraising evolves so should your strategy/game plan for your Phonathon. At one point in time, there was a “one-size fits all” model that proved to be a great success at most institutions, but is now proving to be a thing of the past.  Join Rob to learn about how each institution needs to focus on building a program that is customized to fit the specific goals (donors/dollars) of their phone program.

What Does it Mean to be an Advancement Services Professional?
John Taylor (Host)
Panel TBA


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.

Managing Our Expectations toward Millennials
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine and Kamalei Lee, Pitzer College

We all face the problem of a shrinking and aging donor file and our bosses are telling us to do something about it by reaching out to younger donors.  But what should our expectations from these donors be?  Learn about a 2018 study to determine the giving habits of the various different generational groups (i.e. Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers, etc.) and what we should be expecting from our own donors.  Also learn how the Pitzer College (and other MOTM institutions) are attracting young alumni through effective and proven direct marketing strategies.

Fundamentals of Personal Solicitation and Face-to-Face Fundraising 
Speaker TBA

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.