2017 Session Descriptions

Planned Session Topics:
(Topics are unlikely to change.  But they might.)

Opening Plenary Session:
Fundamentals and Innovations:  Annual Giving and Advancement Services in a Fast-Changing Fundraising World
(John Taylor and Bob Burdenski)
Well-known Crystal Apple teachers, CASE authors, listserv moderators and fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor will launch the 2017 Meeting of the Minds Conference with a rapid-fire rundown of the leading developments and issues in advancement services and annual giving fundraising today. Often in synch, occasionally in conflict, but always working in support of philanthropic goals, annual giving and advancement services offices play a critical role in advancement success.  Bob and John will provide an overview of today’s advancement landscape and offer a preview of the great conference sessions to come.

Day Two Plenary Session:
Advancement Services Is From Venus, Annual Giving Is From Mars:
A Group Therapy Panel Discussion
(Sharon Conklin, Brian Duisenberg, Natalie Graff, Brian Lawver)
What do you wish your annual giving colleagues understood about advancement services?  And vice-versa?  A carefully calibrated panel of both will discuss program planning, reporting, data, gift entry, stewardship and other front-line fundraising “flash points.”  We’re all on the same team, how do we most effectively keep the boat rowing in the right direction?

Closing Plenary Session:
Attention Shoppers! – Thirty Advancement Products And Services To Help You Do Your Job Better, Cheaper, Easier and Faster
(Lynn Wester, John Taylor and Bob Burdenski)
There are some terrific new apps, products, services, and solutions for annual giving, advancement services and donor stewardship.  Join Lynn Wester John Taylor and Bob Burdenski for a rousing closing conference rundown of what-you’re-missing, which-does-what, and why they’re worth-your-while.  

Adapting to a Mobile World: How to Integrate Mobile Giving into Your Annual Giving Program – The USC Experience
(James Gagnon)
As smart phone technology has developed, consumers have increasingly grown accustomed to instant gratification. Their favorite shows, movies, or songs can be launched instantly. Our donors have those same expectation for their giving experience. The need to adapt to an increasingly mobile first world is significant. In this session, we’ll discuss the different ways you can integrate mobile giving into your annual appeals, take advantage of signature events, and empower your volunteers with the tools to fundraise on your behalf.

The Annual Giving Campaign
(Lo DeJanvry)
Developing a strong case and campaign for unrestricted support.

Becoming an Advancement Services Leader
(Robert Weiner, Panel Moderator)
No one comes into our field with a degree in Advancement Services management.  So how do you rise to a leadership position in Advancement Services?  Robert will lead an interactive Q&A between the audience and an expert panel, drawing on his chapter in CASE’s book, “Advancement Services: Enhancing Fundraising Success.”

Break Up with Bad Marketing:
The Top 5 Reasons Why Your Donors Just Aren’t That Into You
(Taylor Stayton)
The spark is gone and no matter how hard you’ve been trying, your donors just aren’t feeling the love. Win back the hearts and minds of your most loyal supporters by shaking off the bad behavior that’s pushed them away. In this session, you’ll learn about the top 5 ways that you’ve been ignoring the needs of your constituents through your direct marketing.

Choosing Your Next CRM or Donor Database
(Robert Weiner)
Choosing a CRM or donor database can seem like a game of Pin The Tail On The Donkey. Participants are blindfolded and pointed in a general direction.  Maybe they’ll find their target, but probably not. Robert will present a planful approach to deciding what you need, reviewing your options, and making a decision based on his chapter in CASE’s book, “Advancement Services: Enhancing Fundraising Success.”

Combining the Leadership and Management Practice
(Wayne Combs)
Fundraising professionals are faced with the challenge of leading a fluid workforce while managing an ever increasing level of information and initiatives that can promote new fundraising strategies to support growing demands for private support.  Many of these challenges involve the need to optimize limited resources while maintaining morale and building a collaborative environment.  This requires leadership skills to inspire action and management skills to maintain and develop sustainable processes.  We will discuss leadership profiles and management strategies that can address a range of issues facing our profession.  Come prepared to share experiences and tactics that have helped you successfully navigate these challenges.

A Crowdfunding Panel Discussion
(Raimonds Kulbergs, Kat Carter, John Taylor)

Data-Driven Annual Giving
(Cassie Hunt)
Annual Giving program directors have at their disposal vast amounts of information and data points that can be used to evaluate and direct their programs.  Which of these data points are most valuable, and what should we do with them?  How can we ensure that information, which can sometimes be interpreted in multiple ways, is telling the correct story?  With what context should these results be reported?  We will dive into all of these questions and more as we evaluate how to run a data-driven annual giving program.

Data Sensitive Donor Relations Strategies
(Wayne Combs)
Whether systematic or high touch, accuracy and completeness of data drives the integrity of our message.  Donor relations intersects many points along the donor cultivation cycle from gift acceptance and management to acknowledgments, donor recognition and reporting.  Data sensitivity is the critical factor at the center and drives the effective outcomes of these processes.  In an era of increasing competition for philanthropy, donors have little patience for mistakes in our messaging or engagement strategies.  We will discuss the data management challenges typically addressed through advancement services.  Come prepared to share your best practices, testimonials and creative ideas for supporting the many functions of donor relations.

A Direct Mail Forum
(C.I. Partners)
Direct mail remains a significant source of gift income for many educational institutions. See some of the latest smart strategies and examples for direct mail as a fundraising channel.

DIY Fundraising: So Hot Right Now
(Emily Parris Sandler)
DIY fundraising is the hottest thing in Peer-to-Peer, in this session we’ll explore the value of having and maximizing your organization’s DIY fundraising program through examining ourHope, City of Hope’s online personal fundraising program. We’ll take a look under the hood to see how the ourHope team has been able to build and grow this program to become an important source of revenue and donors for the organization. We’ll discuss what it takes to start a DIY fundraising program (vendors, strategy, internal buy-in) and what how to take it to scale (marketing, resources, testing); examining both amazing successes as well as spectacular fails and looking forward to see what’s next in the Peer-to-Peer fundraising space.

Donor Relations Architecture
(Lynne Wester)
We will walk you through the four pillars of donor relations, outlining what you could have, should have and MUST have in each area to ensure your program is superior and effective. This interactive session will help you fill in any holes you might have in your program, and give you some ideas on how to enhance what you already have,

Donor Retention isn’t Speed Dating
(Lynne Wester)
The concept behind speed dating is to meet as many people as possible as quickly as possible—and 99% of them you’ll never see again.  Actually, that’s not too far off from the statistic that 80% of donors never make a second gift.  So what can you do to develop a successful donor relations program, what works and what doesn’t, and how can you improve your retention rate?  Learn how to form a lasting relationship with your donors

Getting the Resources You Need: How to Make the Case for Growing Your Team (Nadine Francis)
To make the case for adding new staff positions, Pomona College developed a survey instrument in 2015 that facilitated detailed comparisons of Advancement Services shops at peer institutions. By truly comparing apples to apples, we successfully lobbied for – and received! – the resources needed to grow our staff by 60% over two years. During this presentation, we’ll go step by step through the process of devising your own survey instrument, discuss new positions you should be looking to create, and propose how best to present your case to the powers that be. Detailed sample organizational charts and job descriptions will be provided to all attendees

Giving Day Campaigns – The CSUSM Experience
(Sean Briner)
If you have considered starting a Giving Day or are still new to the concept, we will discuss key lessons learned and strategies implemented at Cal State San Marcos that helped increase the number of gifts received in year two by 317%.  We will also discuss best practices for what happens throughout the year between Giving Days.  This session will include the sharing of your best practices and challenges, as well as discussing creative ideas you are considering for your Giving Day.

Leading The Way: You’re Now In Charge….Now What!?
(Lo DeJanvry)
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!

Maximizing Phonathon Productivity 
(Rob Schlitts)

Oh, the Places We Will Go: Advancement Services IS a Career Choice
(Anita Lawson)
In this session we will look into how to create opportunities for growth as advancement services practitioners. We will explore options to increase job satisfaction, self-motivation and professional achievement to get to that next level.

Partnering:  Annual Giving and Prospect ResearcN
(Cassie Hunt)
A strong partnership between Annual Giving and Prospect Research can be instrumental in the identification and solicitation of leadership annual giving prospects.  Join us for a discussion of how working together can lead to more efficient and effective fundraising, focused on using data to drive decisions and how the results of that work can benefit both offices.  Special focus will be paid to how research data can be used in segmentation and targeting, and how the annual giving results can in turn further your major giving program.

Perfect, Clean and Immaculate Data:
How to Build an Amazing Data Integrity Program
(Nadine Francis)
We’ll discuss the ramifications of “garbage in, garbage out” and outline 10 steps toward building a comprehensive data integrity program. We’ll explore how to mitigate potential data entry errors and how to identify and write an extensive set of data integrity queries for any transactional system. Attendees will be provided with specific examples of data integrity pitfalls and instructions for building a wide array of error-checking reports.

Personal Solicitation and Face-to-Face Fundraising Workshop
(Ray Watts)
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.

A Phonathon Forum
(Greg Carlson and Ben See)
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.

Prospect Pipeline Development
(Lo DeJanvry)
Leveraging predictive donor models, automated prospect outreach, and creative new engagement opportunities to more strategically fill your leadership prospect pipeline.

Wearing Many Hats and Pleasing Many Masters
(Terri Carlos)
Many of us have job descriptions with “other duties as assigned,” or work at institutions with schools, colleges and units all seeking attention.  How do you do your job when you’ve got multiple tasks and many masters?  Terri Carlos offers advice on how to get it all done.

Worst Practices in Alumni, Donor and Prospect Surveys
(Jerold Pearson)
While it’s always preferable to have your alumni research conducted by a professional, you may not always have the budget. Like many institutions, you probably do surveys on your own – designed, written, and analyzed (if analyzed at all) by staffers with no expertise in research methodology or statistics. But flawed design produces flawed data…that results in misleading conclusions and misinformed decisions. This session will review some common – but easily avoidable – mistakes in questionnaire and sampling design. The session will be interactive, with attendee participation and Q&A throughout.

Writing For Annual Giving
(Speaker TBA)
Successful fundraising involves the right “poetry” and the right case(s) for support.  Learn about effective writing for annual giving appeals and messages.

Zen and the Art of Financial Reconciliation
(Anita Lawson)
Development and Finance have a natural connection, and tension, when it comes to recording and reporting donations. We will explore how to create harmony with our Finance colleagues, and bridge possible knowledge gaps, so that both departments feel comfortable with how and what is being presented to internal and external audiences.