Conferences & Training
Major Gift Strategies: Spring Session

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Day 1, Wednesday, April 25

NOON-1:00 PM

Welcome and Introductions

The Development Process: An Overview
All fundraisers know the value of major gifts to any fundraising campaign, whether it is the annual campaign, capital campaign or other effort. Securing those gifts, however, can sometimes be challenging and intimidating. This session demystifies the fundraising process by sharing the three critical skills all development professionals must master in order to successfully advance their operations...and their careers.

Data and Trends that Impact Philanthropy
It's hard to move forward without first knowing where you are, something about the road ahead, and your intended destination. That's why we study data and trends.What do the numbers tell us about the current status of major gift fundraising? How do consumer behavior, economic, environmental and institutional trends shed light on the opportunities and challenges facing our organizations? Where do we look to increase major gift productivity? This session mixes statistics with examples of how major gift prospects think and behave, to give you context that will shape your development strategies.

Panel Discussion
What draws a donor to your cause? How do you build that interest into a lifetime partnership? Join us for a guided, thoughtful discussion featuring an engaged philanthropist and a seasoned fundraising professional that will explore the steps to build a relationship and the processes necessary to keep it thriving.
Featuring: Armin Afsahi, Vice Chancellor of University Advancement, University of Denver; and Robert E. Youle, Equity Member (Denver office), Sherman & Howard LLC
Moderator: Peter Rooney, President, Atlanta Youth Academy

Networking Reception

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

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Day 2, Thursday, April 26

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast/Roundtables

Strategic Portfolio Management and Metrics
We hear it all the time, "Your productivity is only as good as your portfolio." While that might be mostly true, just building a good portfolio is only the start. How do you decide who gets added, or in some cases, who gets dropped? How do you prioritize your travel schedule to make sure you are seeing the people who will best help your institution advance? And how do you juggle short-term and long-range prospects with discovery meetings and stewardship? Get ideas and review best practices that will allow you to increase your personal productivity and make setting your annual goals more predictable.

Donor Communications 101
In order to connect with your donors and inspire them to become engaged with your institution, effective communication requires a commitment to clear messaging about your mission that is relevant to them. Discuss how a comprehensive approach to donor communication can help you effectively strengthen relationships and improve fundraising results for your organization.

11:30 AM-12:30 PM
Elective Sessions (choose one)

  • Uncomfortable Conversations
    Communicating with supervisors, subordinates, donors, prospects, volunteers and campus partners is easy when everything is going well but are you prepared to have or navigate those uncomfortable conversations that may involve discipline, politics, challenging donor relationships or inappropriate behavior? These are the conversations that matter and the ones on which our professional relationships depend, so we'd better get them right. Join two of our faculty members for a session on uncomfortable conversations: how to have them, when to have them, and what guidelines you can use to achieve your preferred outcomes.
  • Campus and Organization Partnerships
    As fundraisers, who are the partners we need to work closely with on our campuses and in our organizations? How should we identify them, build strong relationships, and continue to steward these important people? It may sound easy, but with all of the external pieces of our daily work, internal partnerships can suffer. Discuss ideas on how to organize and value our internal partners as much as we cultivate and steward our alumni, donors and clients.

Lunch on your own

Campaign. It's the multimillion, or even multibillion, dollar word we often use to describe an exciting time in our organizations. But what does it really mean to plan and execute a fundraising campaign? And, what benefits do they offer to our organizations? This session, led by the entire faculty, walks through campaigns from start to finish, including goal setting, recruiting and managing volunteers, communication plans and of course, soliciting lead prospects. These principles will apply whether you're in charge of an annual giving program, a single-project fundraising effort, or a multiyear institution-wide comprehensive campaign.

Case Study and Leadership Role Play, Part I
Preparing for the "Ask": Getting the Appointment, What Do We Want to Learn in a First Meeting?
This session provides an opportunity for conference participants to see examples from the faculty and to use role play to help refine their personal solicitation skills in a workshop environment using real-life scenarios. 

Faculty Firing Line

Conference Adjourns for the Day
Dinner on your own

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Day 3, Friday, April 27

8:00-9:00 AM
Continental Breakfast/Roundtables/One-on-One Sessions

Case Study and Leadership Role Play, Part II
Making the Ask and Overcoming Objections
This session provides an opportunity for conference participants to see examples from the faculty and to use role play to help refine their personal solicitation skills in a workshop environment using real-life scenarios. 

Role Play Report Back

11:30 AM-NOON
Conference Wrap-up

Conference Adjourns

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Day 1 Day 2 Day 3