Dream On



This program includes four dynamic key sessions and up to eight elective sessions over a two day period, as well as plenty of time to network and interact with industry-leading sponsors.

Also included in the registration fee is continental breakfast and a networking lunch each day, along with admission to a pre-event party and welcome reception.


Monday, Feb. 26


8:00 AM-4:30 PM

OverDRIVE/ 2018

Presented by Apra

Join us prior to attending DRIVE/ and take a deep dive into the world of analytics. An understanding of analytics demonstrates your value, advocates for the profession of prospect research and development and empowers you to make strong recommendations. In this one-day intensive, attendees will learn methods and processes to demystify and optimize data.


5:00-7:00 PM
DRIVE-in Party

Join your colleagues the night before the DRIVE/ conference kicks off for fun evening and casual networking. Games, entertainment, food and drinks will be offered.


Day 1, Tuesday, Feb. 27


Day 1 Day 2

The DRIVE/ Conference 2018


7:00-9:00 AM

Welcome and Opening Key Session
Big Social Data
Part creepy and part surprise, this session looks at how scientists and companies are leveraging big social data to develop new insights into what customers want. Jennifer Golbeck, a world leader in social media research, tracks the rise of social networks and data analytics, how new computational techniques are revealing hidden traits of millions of people online, and how this impacts the future of business.
Jennifer Golbeck, Director, Social Intelligence Lab, and Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland

Track Sessions

Holistic Engagement: Moving Beyond Capturing Data to Building Two-way Relationships
As alumni engagement scoring emerges as the next big advancement trend, we look to an organization-Union College-that is not only capturing this data, but acting upon the insights to first quantify and then develop strong, two-way relationships between the institution and its constituents. Learn how Union is gathering and analyzing key data points from traditional and digital engagement channels, and then leveraging those interactions to strengthen relationships and tap into the networks of these truly engaged alumni.
Brent Grinna, Founder and CEO, EverTrue; and Kathy McCann, Director of Advancement Information Services, Union College

Hands-On Analysis
Developing Ways to Tie Predictive Analytics for Prospect Scoring to Development Officer Performance
Learn how to build a basic predictive model to score alumni major gift prospects, explore ways to best distribute those prospects to front-line development officers, and discover how to use those scores to provide a deeper look at a development officer's performance metrics-and ultimately help them be a better fundraiser.
Lucas Moss, Director of Business Intelligence, University of Tennessee Foundation

Implementing Data-Informed Decision-making in Higher Ed Career Services
Through historical placement outcomes and student profile information, data serves as a key component to drive decision-making in career services. Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management has developed interactive dashboards, using Excel and Tableau, to enhance student engagement in career education and exploration as well as identify new corporate development opportunities. Come find out how this implementation has enhanced the foundation for strategic planning and development for student counseling, programming and corporate engagement, resulting in a significant increase in student placement outcomes.
Michael Lamarche, Assistant Director, Syracuse University Whitman Career Services

Digital Strategy
Dissecting Digital Donors What's New? What's Not?
There has been a massive surge in digital giving over the last three years, with more and more donors demonstrating a clear preference for giving online. This preference is most pronounced with newer, younger donors-the leadership and major gift prospects of tomorrow. What can we learn from these donors? Explore data and insights drawn from 500+ institutions and $100,000,000+ in digital giving over the last three years, including anecdotal stories from a diverse range of institutions, and a deep dive on data from College of the Holy Cross. Gain a better understanding of digital fundraising trends, the behaviors and preferences of newer and younger donors, and determine key questions to explore within your own data set to inform and refine your strategy and tactics.
Kestrel Linder, CEO, GiveCampus; and Samantha McGill, Director of Advancement Systems and Technology, College of the Holy Cross

New Tech/Strategy
The Man Who Mistook Alexa for an Oracle
A man says, "Alexa, tell me a dog fact." A woman leaving home says, "Alexa, tell ADT to arm the system." Soon these folks will believe that Alexa can do anything. That's the promise of AI and machine learning. Hype or no hype, AI is going to change the world we live in. What about fundraising? Some of that hype is well deserved. Some of it, not so much. Gain a framework for evaluating and implementing AI when it makes sense and review the various areas of analytics: regression, machine learning, and AI. You'll leave with a matrix that shows when "low tech" approaches like regression models are nearly as strong as advanced tools, and when advanced technologies are worth the time, effort and expense. Your turn, "Alexa, add this session to my schedule."
Ashutosh Nandeshwar, Assistant Vice President, Relationship Management and Data Sciences, University of Southern California; and Nick Zeckets, CEO, QuadWrangle, Inc.

11:25 AM-12:15 PM
Track Sessions

The Data Science of Alumni Connection: Implications for Practice in Fundraising and Alumni Relations
Review the latest discoveries on the data science of alumni connection. Recent studies at the University of Kentucky and the University of San Francisco revealed that alumni feelings of connection and expectations toward their alma mater are more effective and reliable predictors of giving. Learn about the factors and characteristics of alumni connectedness and find out how to use social media, e-communications and identity scores to measure it. Discover how data science can leverage alumni connection to more efficiently target, cultivate and solicit alumni giving.
Jay L. Dillon, Higher Ed Researcher and Director of Alumni Engagement, University of San Francisco

Hands-On Analysis
Measuring Alumni Engagement: A Model-based Analytical Approach
Donor engagement is a key concept in fundraising. Strong donor relationships will lead to high monetary donation and high advocacy/volunteering activities. While most research in the area of engagement measuring has focused on providing a single score for each individual based on historical giving/volunteering activities, this session examines alumni engagement from three different perspectives: monetary giving, loyalty and social connectedness. Learn how this multidimensional analytical approach can capture alumni engagement in a "full profile" format.
Heather Campbell, Director of Analytics and Data Management; and Min Xu, Associate Director, Data Scientist, Princeton University

The Art and Benefit of Great Storytelling
Storytelling is not just about "once upon a time". This session will teach storytelling techniques that will help:

  • Sales reps close more deals, faster
  • Staff and analysts communicate to management more effectively
  • C-suite executives make powerful presentations to staff, investors, and the media
  • Instructors have higher success rates in the classroom

Attendees will learn to understand the different techniques used for different audiences, the importance of understanding their goal, the way their material is perceived, and, the three major parts of every presentation. They will learn some of the most important presentation skills, and, where to get great free help. They will also leave with a proven method for making their presentations and storytelling bulletproof!
Chuck Hooper, Business Intelligence Consultant, BIAlytics

Digital Strategy
Tapping the Social Media and Text Data Fire Hose
With fundraising campaigns increasingly focusing on cross-disciplinary initiatives, prospecting traditional constituencies using typical statistical model scores is resulting in diminishing returns. Fortunately, we now have unprecedented access into the interests of prospective donors through social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as increasing amounts of text data stored in our own internal databases. Unfortunately, it has been difficult historically to utilize this information at scale. Discuss the analytical methods the University of Michigan has developed to tap this text data fire hose. Learn how text data can be analyzed en masse to identify prospects who are not only interested in giving, but who are interested in giving to a specific cause. Identify potential sources of valuable text data hidden within your very own database, and learn how to best utilize external sources of text data.
Brett Lantz, Senior Associate Director of Analytics, University of Michigan

New Tech/Strategy
Using Artificial Intelligence as a Major Gifts Fundraiser
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are the new buzz-phrases in the nonprofit data world. Explore practical ways for major gift officers to use AI and machine learning. Examine how AI and ML can make abundant amounts of data actionable for front-line fundraisers who are tasked with managing donors and closing transformational gifts as well as for all of those who support them.
Adam Martel, CEO, Gravyty

Networking Luncheon and Demo Sessions
List of participating companies coming soon.

Track Sessions

Creating an Effective Training Plan
Almost every organization recognizes the value and benefits of developing training plans and delivery. When done properly, training can make employees more efficient-increasing proficiencies, productivity and morale while decreasing costs and inefficiencies. Effective training can streamline processes and save time and compliance with regulations. It can even lead to a happier, more satisfied workforce, which in turn reduces turnover and additional onboarding. So, how does one create effective training strategy and materials? This session outlines plans, best practices and lessons learned from implementing and supporting advancement services across multiple platforms with many skill levels.
Kate Butler, Associate; and Merrell Milano, Senior Associate, Bentz Whaley Flessner

Hands-On Analysis
Prospect Probability Engine: Using Data Science to Optimize Fundraising at a Leading Academic Medical Center
The Prospect Probability Engine is a new, highly-customized system designed internally at Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health that integrates data analytics, prospect management, reporting and data visualization technology as the fundamental ingredient in preparing for Jefferson's upcoming $1B+ comprehensive fundraising campaign. On a daily basis, the Prospect Probability Engine applies machine learning technology to evaluate various characteristics of approximately 500,000 to 600,000 patients, alumni and friends in an effort to isolate those constituents who could or are likely to make a major gift in support of the upcoming bicentennial campaign. Join this session to learn how the Prospect Probability Engine has enhanced business.
Amy Bryant, Senior Director of Prospect Management and Research; Joseph A. Carroll, Assistant Vice President, Information Management, Office of Institutional Advancement; and David Ritchie, Senior Director, Business Intelligence, Analytics, and Data Services, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health

Interworks Dashboard Design

Digital Strategy
Marketing Automation: Early Learnings for Fundraisers, Communicators and Researchers
Today's customer has high expectations-and may not even realize it: content is curated, activities are acknowledged and timing is fine-tuned. The online experiences commercial enterprises have been crafting for a decade have raised the bar, and higher ed needs to keep up to be competitive for wallet share-that is, applications, enrollment, engagement and fundraising. The good news is that there are tools that can help. Join us for a discussion on marketing automation, and learn how innovative marketing technologies can help advance your marketing and research efforts.
Mirabai Auer, Director, Analytics and Business Intelligence; and Samantha Morales, Senior Director, Marketing, ARD Communications, University of Chicago

New Tech/Strategy
Data Science for Fundraising: Build Data-driven Solutions Using R
This interactive workshop takes a look at data science. Learn how to get started on your laptop, how to translate fundraising problems into applied machine learning projects, and how to build data-driven solutions using R.
Rodger Devine, Senior Executive Director, Business Intelligence, University of Southern California

Demo Sessions
List of participating companies coming soon.

Key Session
Never Split the Difference
After 24 years with the FBI, Chris Voss has assembled a toolbox of effective tactics for high-pressure negotiations. Voss shares the specific things you can do to turn the tide of a negotiation in your favor-illustrating his points with both riveting, high-stakes stories of criminal negotiations and humorous, personal anecdotes from his trips to the mall. From why you always want to get your counterpart to say your name to why "yes" is the last thing you want to hear, Voss explains how to move a conversation along, how to startle people in the right way, and how to uncover someone's real motivation. By the end of this talk, you'll understand why a notorious terrorist once told Voss, "I hope they're paying you a lot."
Chris Voss, CEO, Black Swan Group, and Author, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended On It

Networking Reception

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

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Day 2, Wednesday, Feb. 28


8:00-9:00 AM
Breakfast and Demo Sessions
List of participating companies coming soon.

Key Session
Less Artificial, More Intelligent
Maybe you have an Amazon Echo or Nest product in your home. Perhaps your systems are sophisticated enough in the workplace to put you in the AI space professionally. Or perhaps you know AI's impact on how you could do your work more efficiently and effectively, and its coming soon to your workplace. You'll leave this session understanding more about how machine learning and artificial intelligence works and how it will change the way we approach modern work. Explore how to build good analytic solutions and products in the age of AI and what human components are most necessary in the age of AI.
Scott Zoldi, Chief Analytics Officer, FICO

10:00-10: 50
Track Sessions

How to Create an Amazing Data Collection and Analytics Program to Support Alumni Outcomes Reporting
Nadine M. Francis, Senior Director of Advancement Services and Information Systems; and Peter Hansen, Advancement Business Process and Technology Manager, Pomona College

Hands-On Analysis
Bridging the Gap Between Fundraising Activity and Budgetary Impact
Have you ever been asked to measure fundraising's impact on your institution's budget? It can be extremely difficult to identify the aggregate fundraising impact; endowed gifts provide payout in perpetuity, bequest expectancies will (hopefully) be realized at some point in the near future, and expendable gifts, while expendable, can have restrictions tied to the way the funds are spent. Explore reconciling fundraising data with its corresponding budgetary impact, selecting the relevant data in building a model (or models) to forecast fundraising's impact on the budget, and strategies to communicate current results and fiscal year trajectory with key stakeholders within your organization.
Matt Hopkins, Senior Associate Director, Financial Analytics; and David Murphy, Budget Director and Associate Vice President for Finance, University of Chicago

Creative Brainstorming with Data
Les Guessing is an Emmy-winning copywriter, hell-bent on mining and using data/Data Science/ML/DL/NLP to make advertising creative better, funnier, more efficient and more impactful. He believes that data can be the third partner in a creative team (traditionally made up of a Copywriter and an Art Director). To do this requires a different perspective on data. Instead of trying to Kaggle-grind another .001% out of parameters, it might be better if you're way off the mark - often called "Lateral Thinking". It might be as simple as asking a funny SQL query. (Les once asked the US Census Database, "Which religion is most likely to shoot you?") Or as complex as using web-scraped text and an LSTM RNN to generate non-sequiturs (a classic comedy technique). Did you know that a Bayesian a priori, a posteriori approach mirrors every advertising creative brief written for the last 30 years? Let's have a conversation about how data can be used as improvisational creative fodder, so that inside-the-Excel-cell info can be used for out-of-the-box thinking.
Les Guessing, Copywriter and Creative Data Hacker, Creative Algorithm

Digital Strategy
Connections and Clicks: Leveraging Big Data to Gain Engagement Insights
We are living in an era of data. At the University of Chicago, thousands of emails are sent to 200,000 alumni and friends annually, which accumulate more than 10M email activities each year, let alone data brewing from online learning and career mentorship platforms, as well as tweets and Facebook likes. Buzz has surrounded big data for some time, but many higher ed teams still wonder how they can begin to leverage the three "V's" of big data-volume, variety and velocity-to inform strategy and programming. Find out how the University of Chicago became an early adopter of digital engagement strategy and big data and in turn, is beginning to reap the benefits. Learn how you can leverage a big data environment to track the engagement progress, prospect and inform your communications strategy.
Xiaohong Zhang, Data Architect, University of Chicago

New Tech/Strategy
Eating the Elephant: One Data Byte at a Time
Successful fundraising is about more than building relationships. It takes state-of-the-art analytics and data management to keep one step ahead. Learn how the University of Texas at San Antonio transformed its development operation from a home-grown shop to a best-practices model by implementing an aggressive data and analytics-driven operation, cross-divisional partnerships and an out of the box change-management strategy. Get the inside track on gaining buy-in from key leadership, managing interdepartmental change, developing processes around data normalization, and supporting and measuring success through key performance indicators.
Greg Cortez, Executive Director, Advancement Information and Strategic Analytics; and Kristin Ludwig, Assistant Vice President for Development, University of Texas at San Antonio

11:10 AM-NOON
Track Sessions

Can You Repeat That, Please? How Data Analysts and Institutional Leadership and Can Speak the Same Language
Nonprofits are increasingly dependent on data to make decisions around goals and strategy. Analysts are being brought in to build sophisticated models that forecast giving, quantify needed resources, assess productivity and capture return on investments. Important decisions are at stake, and the data experts who present these findings are confident in the rigor of their methodology and analysis. But what about the rest of the people in the room? Can leadership have full confidence in results from analytical models they may not fully grasp? Explore what works-and doesn't seem to work-in synthesizing quantitative analysis and qualitative knowledge to form the depth of understanding necessary to make the best decisions for the organization.
Sherrie Dodson, Associate Vice President, Advancement Services, Baylor University; and Sarah Williams, Senior Consultant and Principal; Leader of Analytical Solutions, Marts & Lundy

Hands-On Analysis
Build an Analytics Dashboard from Scratch with Python/Flask
Learn how to upgrade your dashboards to webapps that allow user input and real-time analytics on those inputs. This session looks at two webapps, a simple interface for a briefing automation project and a portfolio stress test webapp that guides MGOs through an annual portfolio strategy workshop. It will include the process/administrative side (of working with the IT/networking team to get it secure and accessible to the people who need access to it) as well as the technical infrastructure of the webapp. Once you know how to get up and running with Python and Flask, you'll find you can implement webapps into your workflow with ease. You'll leave this session with the know-how to build your own webapp and with the knowledge to make it work for your organization.
John Connelly, Research Manager, Georgetown University

Session to be determined

Digital Strategy
Using Social Listening to Identify Alumni Engagement Opportunities & Influencers
How higher education engages with alumni is changing as more and more of our conversations occur online. While your alumni may not fill out career update forms or respond to your
emails, they are celebrating their accomplishments on social media and would certainly appreciate a personalized response from their alma matter. Beyond engagement, influencers can play an important role in advancement, but you need to know how to find them. In this session, you'll learn how to find and analyze online conversations to identify engagement opportunities as well as strategic influencers for your institution (not just online celebrities). We'll also review metrics that can be used to determine influence (spoiler alert: it's more than followers). Liz will share case studies and best practices for campus influencer collaboration.
Liz Gross, Director, Campus Sonar, Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.

New Tech/Strategy
Redefining Major Gift Officer Service Models
High-performing major gift programs depend on skilled officers asking passionate, wealthy prospects to give. Average programs have their officers do so much more, such as identifying their own prospects, managing their own ad hoc processes, subjectively culling their portfolios and coordinating stewardship for their donors. To maximize performance is to narrow roles to the most efficient and effective personnel. Learn how operations, prospect development and analytics can service the front-line, and get a first-hand account of a groundbreaking business model for officer management and services alignment at St. Jude.
Joshua Birkholz, Principal, Bentz Whaley Flessner; and Jennifer Holt, Senior Director, Gift Planning Campaign and Fundraising Ops, ALSAC/St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

NOON-1:30 PM
Networking Luncheon and Demo Sessions
List of participating companies coming soon.

Track Sessions

Precision Philanthropy
Award-winning speakers and authors of Precision Philanthropy share their vision of how nonprofit organizations must reimagine their previous assumptions about fundraising to thrive in the third philanthropic age. Precision Philanthropy leverages all resources available, creating laser-focused yet malleable strategies to optimize the donor experience while maximizing revenue and efficiencies. Through targeted and personalized strategies, public sector organizations that harness this revolutionary way of conducting business will be better positioned to fulfill their mission and increase their positive impact on humanity.
Nathan Chappell, Senior Vice President, Advancement Operations and Giving Campaigns; and Nathan Fay, Associate Vice President Prospect Development, City of Hope

Driving Collaborative Decision-making Across the Organization
We see more and more organizations in both public and private sector get this truly 360 degree view of the organization Essentially we're talking about importance not just of data but how that data is integrated into the strategic initiatives across the organization, many of which cross departmental "boundaries" of data ownership. The premise is that in order to have a collaborative approach to decision-making, organizations need to rethink how they integrate different parts of the organization that may not be directly involved with a particular initiative but would be impacted by a decision. It gives better insight and a broader view of the organization which have been department or workgroup silos that have not done a good sharing information and thus when decisions are made in a vacuum, the downstream impact is chaotic.
Robert Dolan, Jr., Market Segment Director, Public Sector, Tableau

Hands-On Analysis
A Predictive Model to Forecast MBA Internship Placement Success
The BYU Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and Data Analytics process offers an innovative approach to change the conversation around the job hunt process with MBAs. Using the predictive model, we can drive and improve the process with students for more transparency and accountability on their job hunt performance, and at the same time clarify and highlight the critical activities that increase the likelihood of success. This approach demonstrates a method for highlighting and identifying top performers in certain key performance ratios and points students to key experts. KPIs offer a real-world experience, allowing students to hold themselves, and others, accountable for greater effectiveness.
Rick Patterson, Assistant Director, Marriott School of Business, Brigham Young University

Session to be determined

Digital Strategy
Digging Into Digital Data for Enhanced Major Gift Solicitation Strategies
Major donors are more active online and on social media than the general population. A growing number of institutions are recognizing this and mining the social graph to better understand the affinities of donors and prospects. This innovative tactic is leading to big wins in the six- and seven-figure gift range.

  • During this session, Groundwork Digital President and Co-Founder Justin Ware will uncover this new approach to developing major donor solicitation strategies that are more personally tailored than ever before. Specifically, this session will:
  • Outline the multi-phase process for injecting social listening and digitally-mined data into prospect development
  • Cover case studies that demonstrate the real-world success that comes about when your institution goes digital to engage major donors
  • Offer tips for development officers on the potential for using video and social media to stay front and center in the minds of donors and prospects

Justin Ware, President and Co-Founder, Groundwork Digital

New Tech/Strategy
Budgeting for CRM Conversion at a Public Liberal Arts College
We are often faced with technology acquisition projects that aren't funded (yet). Developing sustainable budgets for these projects is a crucial part of successful implementation, but it can also be a mysterious and frustrating process. The Evergreen State College recently implemented a new fundraising and alumni database. While most large IT projects run a high risk of going over budget, this project actually came in under budget. While that sounds magical, it was the result of a deliberate budget strategy and some intentional decision-making. Learn how they established their budget projection, evaluated services and vendors, and implemented this software within the projected budget. Review strategies that can be applied to technology projects of different scales.
Abby Kelso, Director of Advancement Services and Alumni Programs; and Jessica Thrift, Advancement CRMS Project Manager, The Evergreen State College

Track Sessions

Knight or Ninja? Advancement Services in the European Market
The U.K. just reached a record 1B in philanthropic support as reported in the Ross-CASE survey, a CASE Europe industry benchmarking tool on philanthropic giving. The European compliance changes taking place means the advancement industry is going under a major review of opportunities for change. The advancement services function has become the guiding beacon to manage the implementation of this change and is key to ensuring survival in this hyper-speed of change and against a backdrop of external pressure. Discuss the CASE Europe Development Services Survey (CEDSS), learn how a cultural and perspective shift is needed in the current climate of European change, and discover how our experiences as knights and ninjas in the European market can help achieve success.
Alex Hyde-Parker, Deputy Director, Development Services; Tom Jirat, Information Manager, University of Manchester; and Chris Newson, Head of Campaign Operations, Royal Academy of Music

Hands-On Analysis
Data-driven Partnerships
Using data to drive our advancement programs is a sure key to success, but we often find that the fundraiser and the report writers don't speak the same language. We lose time going back and forth on requests to get at the heart of what is needed, often missing data points that can inform our actions and influence our goals. Learn how to be a bridge between the front-line and the back office, using data to your advantage. Done successfully, your colleagues will see you as a partner in their quest for more gifts and higher engagement.
Cassie Hunt, Director of Advancement Operations, Washington and Lee University

Strategic Analysis of Fundraising: Cross Collaborative

Digital Strategy
Session to be determined

New Tech/Strategy
Top 10 Mistakes Made When Selecting a CRM or ERP
Many of us are looking to replace our CRM or ERP. Given the complexities that are involved, it is very easy to select the system that is NOT the best fit. With dozens of ERP and CRM vendors on the market, offering different software solutions with a variety of capabilities, as well as integration points with other packages, it can be easy for important factors to fall through the cracks. Consider the following: What are the critical questions to ask? What factors do you need to consider? Have you involved the correct stakeholders, and do they have the time, resources, experience and sufficient support from leadership to identify the correct system? Review the top 10 mistakes made during these projects and learn how to avoid them.
Dan Feely, Founder and Managing Partner, TSI-Transforming Solutions Inc.

Closing Key Session
Why Drive When You Can Soar?
You have a choice: set yourself apart, succeed and multiply your help to others; or, set your cruise control and maintain your impact on others. If you made the first choice, you will learn about a three-step structure to help you soar. If you made the second choice, you will hear the stories to help you think again.
Ashutosh Nandeshwar, Assistant Vice President, Relationship Management and Data Sciences, University of Southern California

Conference Adjourns

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