Conferences & Training
Program - Development for Deans and Academic Leaders -- Winter Session


Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Day 1, Wednesday, Feb. 7

Noon - 1:00 
Welcome to Vancouver! Please stop by the registration desk starting at 12:00 p.m. to check in and pick up your conference materials.

1:00 - 1:15
Welcome and Introductions

1:15 - 2:15
Running with Scissors: Top Development Tips for Academic Leaders
Ok. So now that we've established what we know to be a winning approach to Development, let's get granular. With more than 30 years of experience seeing what truly has an ROI worthy of your investment of time, energy and calories, we're going to address what we consider the key ingredients and some cases, requirements to either establish a focused, high-achieving Development program or to take yours to the next level.

2:30 - 3:30
Workshops (choose one):

  • Trends in Alumni Giving and Engagement
    What are the key trends and demographics in alumni giving and what is the correlation between engagement and giving? Explore these questions are more in this interactive session that will help you develop a roadmap to increase alumni giving rates while fostering a culture of philanthropy on-and off-campus.
  • Gift Planning
    Come and find out more about what a gift planning and bequest program has to offer, what it requires to run successfully, and what reasonable and yet great expectations look like.
  • The Winning Partnership: Deans and Development Officers
    A true partnership between a Dean and their development officer is the key to successful fundraising but what does it take to create this type of relationship? Join a candid discussion with a seasoned Dean and development officer as they discuss the importance of clear roles, responsibilities and expectations. They’ll also explore critical success factors to consider and implement as well as tips and attributes to make your partnership a winning one.
  • Campaign Basics for Deans
    Campaigns are now ubiquitous in college and university fundraising. What used to be periodic efforts to increase funds raised for projects or themes are now regular and sustained fundraising structures that are more frequent, pursuing larger and larger overall goals. We will review the basic planning framework of a campaign and explore its relevancy in today’s environment. We’ll also talk through the trends and pressures related to comprehensive campaigns in the context of national conversations about tuition, endowment size, and so forth.

3:45 - 4:45 
The Role of the Dean in Successful Development
The dean has a special role in successful development, including designing the case for support, deepening the engagement of top potential givers and participating in all phases of the Cycle. This session highlights important areas of development for deans and includes ideas and strategies to keep in mind throughout the rest of the conference and beyond.

5:00 - 6:00 
Networking Reception
Join conference speakers and your colleagues to network and socialize after the first day of the conference. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres will be provided.

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

[back to top]


Day 2, Thursday, Feb. 8

7:30 - 8:30 AM

8:30 - 9:30 
From Our Donors' Perspective
Hear from two leading volunteers and philanthropists who have supported institutions and organizations across multiple sectors. Each will share the experiences that keep them engaged in philanthropy and offer insights about their giving decision-making processes.

9:45 - 10:45
Bespoke Development and the Art of Echoes
Successful, strategic Development cannot be characterized as simply a financial transition aimed at filling a need or addressing a shortfall. While requiring thoughtfully tailored planning and rigorous and consistent implementation, success is often defined by the art and creativity that complements the science because Development is, first and foremost, about relationship building. It is about introducing and attracting investment in and support for a vision that is compelling and engaging. So let's dispel some myths, build on some truths and better understand an approach to Bespoke Development that will inform all of our sessions together.

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Workshops (choose one):

  • Artful Ask Workshop
    Building on the concepts addressed during the Making the Artful Ask session, we will discuss the steps necessary to build confidence as we make face-to-face asks. Using three scenarios, we'll role play in teams in order to increase our comfort level with asking for and securing new gifts.
  • Anatomy of a Successful Donor Visit
    We often think of a solicitation as a singular event, a meeting where we "ask for the order." In actuality, this is more than just a transactional visit and when done right it should ensure success at every stage of the solicitation process. Strategic and generative conversations are at the heart of our work. Questioning and listening are powerful life skills. First and foremost, they should help you create productive donor relationships. Using the five stages of the solicitation process, learn how to develop questions instead of talking points that will inform your gift strategy, advance relationships, and result in a joyful, generous "Yes" to your request.
  • Open Forum for Deans
    An informal and interactive Q&A/discussion session for deans. Participants can raise their own challenges and share experiences related to best practices in working within development.
  • Open Forum for Development Officers
    An informal and interactive Q&A discussion session for development professionals. Participants can raise their own challenges and share experiences related to best practices in working with deans and other academic leaders.

12:00 - 2:00 PM
Luncheon and Plenary, From Our Deans' Perspective
In this moderated conversation, two Deans will discuss their road to developing their fundraising skills, how they collaborate with their Development Officer, and what they value about the opportunity to engage personally with their institution's donors. Hear about their successes and challenges as well as lessons learned.

2:15 - 3:15
Workshops (choose one):

  • Artful Ask Workshop (repeated from 11:00 AM)
    Building on the concepts addressed during the Making the Artful Ask session, we will discuss the steps necessary to build confidence as we make face-to-face asks. Using three scenarios, we'll role play in teams in order to increase our comfort level with asking for and securing new gifts.
  • Major Gift Strategies
    Working with an individual to make a major philanthropic investment in your organization is a very personal and unique experience, with no two donors and no two gift plans being exactly alike. Your success or failure in closing a major gift depends on how well you know the donor, how well you listen and your understanding of what he or she wants to accomplish with his or her philanthropy. Learn how to gain the trust of major donors and prospects, how to use faculty, trustees, colleagues and volunteers, and how to develop customized gift strategies that will maximize results. Walk away with a strategy for one of your donors that you can begin implementing as soon as you get back to campus. In fact, maybe the next step toward that gift begins as soon as this session ends.
  • Building a Diversified Portfolio of Supporters
    How do we find the most meaningful approach to organizing a Dean’s external work? We’ll discuss scenarios for relationship building activity at all levels and how this activity effects the organization of time and calendars. We’ll explore strategies, tactics and assessment tools that can help us achieve positive outcomes for our institutions.
  • Planning to Plan: Effective Strategic Development Plans
    Creating development strategy is critical to an effective fundraising effort, and is less daunting than you think. We will explore the fundamentals of how deans and development professionals can craft and execute a solid development strategy in a way that will transfer to any context.

3:30 - 4:30
Transformational Gifts
Philanthropic investments that truly shape our institutions are rare, but the work that leads to these opportunities is ongoing. In this session, we will discuss how best to build the capacity to secure transformational gifts at your institution using a framework that looks at the various elements: The relationship with the donor, the academic leader, the vision, the business model, and extraordinary stewardship.

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

4:45 - 5:45
Study Hall (optional)
Attendees will have the opportunity to sign up for 15 minute coaching sessions with conference faculty. Participants are encouraged to attend in teams and can raise their own challenges or use this time for personalized follow-up on information shared at earlier sessions.

[back to top]


Day 3, Friday, Feb. 9

7:00 - 8:00 AM

8:00 - 8:45
Recognition and Stewardship
All gifts must be recognized and any opportunity for recognition is also an opportunity for stewardship. In this session we’ll explore how to effectively involve potential supporters and past donors in the institution’s vision, ensuring that they feel meaningfully engaged and are receptive to an invitation to invest in that vision. And once you get that all important ‘yes’, we’ll address how stellar recognition and stewardship not only shows gratitude and fulfills our responsibilities, but can also lead to the next gift.

9:00 - 10:00
Ethics/Schmethics: How Tough Can It Be?"
Ethical issues are more top-of-mind than ever in development. Transparency, accountability and the highest ethical standards of personal and institutional conduct are vital to our success. Review ethical issues related to our work in development and consider the tools and approaches we use to ensure we all remain on the highest ethical ground.

10:15 - 11:15
Workshops (choose one):

  • Life in a Small Shop
    Small advancement shops face challenges with smaller staff and shrinking budgets but they are also uniquely poised for innovation. Learn how to best utilize your size and build on your team’s strengths to most effective engage with donors and supporters and advance the vision of your intuition.
  • Ethics and Donor Recognition
    Knowing how to hardwire ethical practices into all areas of donor interaction is essential for building and retaining long-term relationships. We will discuss key areas where deans and development professionals can engage and steward donors in a way that is meaningful and ethical.
  • The Keys to Successful Advisory Boards
    Many institutions find that active and engaged volunteer committees are key components of successful development programs. But what are the actual benefits, and what kind of staffing and planning are necessary to create and nurture your volunteer advisory boards for development purposes? Participants are encouraged to share their successes and challenges in forming and working with advisory boards.

11:15 AM - 11:45 PM
Final Thoughts
Please don't leave quite yet! Join us for a pithy and inspiring wrap-up conversation that will highlight and prioritize what we've heard over the last 3 days. Faculty members will join in and share what they consider to be their top take-away as you shortly depart to wend your way back to your Mothership and continue your Development journey.

[back to top]

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3