Conferences & Training
Programme - Regular Giving Conference 2018

Wednesday 5 December 2018

09:00-09:45 Registration and Refreshments

09:45-10:00 Welcome and Introductions from the Chairs
Edd Pickering, Head of Fundraising, University of Reading
Kurstin Finch Gnehm, Head of Individual Giving and Legacies, Royal Academy of Music

10:00-11:00 Opening Plenary - Do Androids Dream of Regular Gifts?
For all the concern about technology ushering in a dystopian future where humans battle bots, the reality of the rapid pace of technology development and its impact on human life is very real, and very now.
In this session Tracy Playle will reflect on emerging digital trends impacting on our lives, our roles, and those of our donors and potential donors. We'll gaze into a future of possibility, challenge, and perhaps even moral dilemmas. And we'll consider what this means for us right now, from opportunities to embrace and changes to ready ourselves for. From the technologies themselves, to the stories that we tell through them and the way that we use them to build relationships and lasting connections. This session will take you on a fast flight through the future and how it might just change the face of regular giving.
Following this session you will:

• Have a confident understanding of current and emerging trends that you should and shouldn't pay attention to
• Learn frameworks for thinking about creating engaging content and compelling stories that influence and persuade
• Understand the importance of embedding detailed qualitative data into your planning
• Be challenged to raise your game even further with an empathy-led approach to your engagement activities

Tracy Playle, CEO and Chief Content Strategist, Pickle Jar Communications Ltd.

11:00-12:00 Breakout Session - Select One

 How do you Talk about the Value of a Regular Giving Programme?

 The Donor Ecosystem: How we Improved our First-Time Donor Retention

We all recognise that a comprehensive regular giving programme adds value far beyond the funds raised and the impact that donations have, but in an ever-changing fundraising landscape, how do we demonstrate our impact?
o Is it just about income generation? Participation?
o What questions do leadership teams ask?
o The power of working with students and academics
o How can you work across teams (major gifts, development services, alumni engagement) in a smart way?

Lindsay Triggs, Regular Giving and Stewardship Manager, University of London

Becki Mckinlay, Managing Consultant, Graham-Pelton

Two years ago, Sheffield was struggling with donor retention. With increased cash giving through our new direct mail programme, we were acquiring more new donors than ever before. We knew how important retaining these donors would be to our programme - so we took action to improve our retention rates. By more carefully structuring our year, creating a new welcome and stewardship programme, and introducing more tailored communications by mail and phone, we've nearly doubled our first time donor retention rates in just two years. We'll share what we did, what we've learnt, and give practical tips for how others can improve their retention too.

Jemma Gurr, Individual Giving Manager, Sheffield Hospitals Charity

Heather Bellamy, Regular Giving Manager, The University of Sheffield

12:00 - 12:15 Refreshment Break

12:15 - 13:15 Facilitated Networking 
Jhumar Johnson, Director of Development, The Open University

13:15 - 14:15 Networking and Lunch with Exhibitors

Kindly sponsored by:


14:15 - 15:00 Small Changes|BIG Differences: Optimise your Telephone Campaign
Humans no longer behave like apes, but this evolutionary change didn't happen overnight.

Buffalo's first telethon was back in 2005 when smoking in public places was still the norm. Thirteen years on and our campaigns look very different now, but are still fresher than ever.

Evolving technology, evolving alumni expectations, evolving legislation have all left their mark. During this session we'll highlight how small changes to your telethon can make a big difference to your fundraising.

Chris Rainford, Head of Business Development, Buffalo Fundraising Consultants 

15:00 - 16:00 Breakout Session - Select One

An Uphill Struggle - The Challenges with Crowd-Funding at a Conservative Institution

Crafting the Perfect Message

Aston University's fundraising team have previously focussed on traditional channels such as direct mail and telephone. Repeatedly working with the same demographic of alumni, fewer alumni were engaging and giving. I wanted to introduce something current; Crowdfunding! As expected I experienced setbacks; Executives did not understand crowdfunding, therefore would not financially back it, Finance were reluctant to sign up to a new online payment software, Marketing had other priorities and the Student Union showed minimal support in sourcing projects. After several months of working through these challenges, and following advice from our supplier, Hubbub, we successfully trialled crowdfunding for 6 months and currently have the sign off to continue. We want to share our journey, on how something which was set to fail ended up winning an award for being Aston's "Idea of the Year".

Kat Carter, Customer Success Manager, Hubbub

Mariya Kauser, Fundraising Administrator, Aston University

Jerisha and Kate will help you brainstorm messaging that brings results! They will identify what does, and doesn't, work and lead a brainstorming session. By the time you leave, you'll already have the key pieces of copy you need for your next solicitation or stewardship piece.

Jerisha Gordon, Director of Development, Delaware Children's Museum

Kate Lucas, Director of Development, The Friends of Howell Living History Farm

16:00 -16:15 Networking and Refreshments with Exhibitors

16:15-17:15 Breakout Session - Select One

 Using your Digital Presence to Increase Reach

The Art of Managing up

Over the last few years, more and more HE institutions have been adding digital components to their regular giving strategy as a way of attracting new donors or to breath new life into exiting activities which cultivate and engage donors to give, keep giving - and giving more. Many institutions now run successful crowdfunding programs and some have seen success in the UK with running their own giving days - both of which are highly effective ways to grow, expand and cultivate your donor base. But there is something new on the horizon, which isn't particularly ground breaking, but rather teaching an old dog new tricks - online giving campaigns. In this session we'll take a look into how the sector is starting to really harness the power of integrating the online representation of your regular giving program, or an institutional-wide campaign, helping institutions at varying levels of their tenure to increase donor numbers and to cultivate existing and new audiences into champions of your institution.

Kat Carter, Customer Success Manager, Hubbub

We often hear the phrase ‘managing up' - but what does it really mean? Delegating work to your manager? Escalating issues further ‘up the chain'? ‘Covering your bases'? Being a ‘squeaky wheel'?
Come along to this session where Heather will share some first-hand examples of how to successfully manage up and help position your Regular Giving programme as an important and strategic part of the Advancement Office, as well as the wider institution. Heather will also share her experience and key learnings of how not to manage up!
As the trend of doing more with less continues within Higher Education fundraising, this session aims to provide you with some practical tips on how to influence senior leadership, celebrate your successes, demonstrate value of Regular Giving and more.

Heather Campbell, Director of Advancement Operations and Administration, Imperial college London

17:15 - 19:00 Free Time 

19:00 Networking Drinks Reception

19:45 Dinner at The Studio

Kindly supported by: 


Thursday 6 December 2018

08:00-08:45 Breakfast Roundtables x 4. 

1. "Best in Show" Regular Giving Stewardship, Bob Burdenski, Principal, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

2. What's Working and not Working in Online Fundraising? Adrian Salmon, Vice President, Grenzebach Glier and Associates

09:00 - 10:00 Be your Best you (and Bang your own Drum)!
"Three finalists were competing for a Director of Development and Alumni Relations role.
One candidate was a Head of Annual Giving at a large civic university with more than
300,000 alumni. The other two had worked on capital campaigns and closed major gifts. The
Head of Annual Giving was a leader in her field, had built relationships and managed
complex, multifaceted teams, and understood all aspects of advancement. She aspired to
become a Development Director. Despite these qualifications and breadth of experience, the
panel refused to gamble on someone who lacked significant major gifts fundraising

"They call these jobs Director of Development and Alumni Relations, but what they really
want is a principal gifts fundraiser," says the Head of Annual Fund who was passed over for
the Directorship "I don't want to be a Director of fundraising. My passion is delivering the
institution's priorities, and that means all of it." Does this sound familiar to your experience?
Is fear of overcoming this barrier preventing you from taking that next step?

Despite institutions' efforts to integrate all areas of advancement, age-old stereotypes and
assumptions still exist. Major gift fundraising experience seems to matter most. So how can
exceptional leaders in annual giving and alumni relations become executive leaders of an
advancement team?

This interactive panel discussion will share the experience of four advancement
professionals who have all started out in regular giving and have embarked on different and
aspirational career paths as a result. With the new emphasis on data, donor/alumni
experience and operations, they will share some examples of alternate career progression,
debunk myths around institution type vs value of experience, and how they managed work
and life on the way. This session will leave you inspired and with practical advice to help you
to position yourself for future career development.

Nicola Reames, Director, Execucare
Stephanie Miller, Operations and Supporter Engagement Manager, Edinburgh Napier University
Natalie Lloyd, Head of Development and Supporter Engagement and Associate Director, Keele University
Laura Hughes, Alumni Relations Team Manager, University of Westminster

10:00 - 10:15 Networking and Refreshments

10:15 - 11:15 Breakout Session - Choose One

Mid-value Giving from the Donor's Point of View  How to Crack your Overseas Markets

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view . . . until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." Atticus Finch - To Kill a Mockingbird

In this session we will take a leaf out of Atticus Finch's book and climb into the skin of our mid-value donors. Using a number of scenarios you, the audience, will think about what it feels like to be your donors. We'll explore how and why your donors might feel like they do, and what actions we as fundraisers could take to change how they feel for the better.
Using real scenarios and evidence and insight from mid-value giving programmes from across the sector, we'll explore and share strategies and practical solutions that will help you to increase giving from mid-value donors, develop donor loyalty and improve the donor experience.

Adrian Beney, Partner, More Partnership
Rosie Dale, Partner, More Partnership
Mark McDonnell, Campaign Director, Regular Giving & Legacies, University College Dublin.

Translating a regular giving programme focused on native alumni to international markets can be difficult. Often, we work blind as to what the cultural norms are in all but our largest international markets. Results from direct mail, telephone campaigns and online giving appeals can be patchy, and difficult to understand with small datasets to analyse on a country by country basis. We feel we could do better - if we just had better insights to help us along.

In this session, we aim to take you on a whirlwind tour of Northern Europe, the Baltics and Asia, to try and show what you can do to better understand the cultures and philanthropic interests across these regions. In discussions covering everything from the gamification of online giving in Finland through to the native cashless payment infrastructure in China, our panel of regional experts will seek to demystify, clarify and translate regional norms in order to help you understand the constituents you wish to reach - and to hone and grow your overseas regular giving programme.

Teppo Heiskanen, Director for Advancement and Corporate Engagement, Aalto University

Peter O'Connor, Development Manager (Asia), Imperial College London

 Giedre Birzyte, Director of Alumni Relations, Vilnius University

11:15 - 12:15 Breakout Session - Choose One

Managing Down

Challenging the Status Quo in Higher Education Fundraising - the 2018 HE Donor Experience Project

Getting the best out of your team is always going to be one of the biggest factors in the success of any operation. Getting the best out of your manager is also going to be a factor in tearing your hair out. Drawing on years of experience Edd will suggest some approaches, and some pitfalls to avoid when it comes to managing your Regular Giving team as a team and not just a function.

Edd Pickering, Head of Fundraising, University of Reading

Do you know if your donors and alumni are happy with what you do? Do you consider the donor's perspective when making decisions? Is the donor at the heart of your team structure, KPIs, processes and policies? Should they be?

Ask anyone in our industry why an excellent donor experience matters, and they'll mention the increased fundraising success that accompanies it. It seems like a no-brainer to prioritise the donor experience and improve alumni and donor communications, yet many institutions face significant cultural and structural barriers to making the changes valued by our donors.

Aligned to the Institute of Fundraising's Donor Experience Project, we're leading the largest industry research study ever undertaken on the donor experience to investigate what helps and hinders a more donor-centric approach to fundraising in UK universities.

In this interactive session we'll seek your views on some of the issues raised by the qualitative phase of our research, where we interviewed 16 development practitioners from a range of roles and institutions. Your participation in this session will contribute to the research and inform the final recommendations that we'll be communicating in early 2019.

Kurstin Finch Gnehm, Head of Individual Giving and Legacies, Royal Academy of Music

Holly Palmer, Alumni & Supporter Experience Consultant, Holly Palmer Consulting

Lee Durbin, Research and Insight Consultant, Holly Palmer Consulting 

12:15 - 13:00 Networking and Lunch

Kindly sponsored by:


13:00 - 13:45 Showcase Session

13:45-14:45 Breakout Session - Choose One

How to be Inventive with Minimum Budget, or, Achieving Institutional Goals on a Shoestring

 International Telethons

Keele is a small shop, but uses its resources creatively and collaboratively to deliver impact that advances the strategic aims and priorities of the University.
Using her experiences Lauren Huss will talk you through practical insight and takeaways for maximising your resource to deliver an effective regular giving programme and building a case for further investment.
This will include discussion on;
- Developing effective communication and engagement opportunities for multiple stakeholders
- Creating and implementing a multi-channel supporter engagement strategy
- Making friends and influencing people

Lauren Huss, Stakeholder and Supporter Relations Manager, Keele University

Natalie Lloyd, Head of Development and Supporter Engagement and Associate Director, Keele University

In FY 2011 we brought our telethon back ‘in house'. We called only Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales in the first two campaigns but in the summer of 2012 we widened our calling to 21 other European countries and the USA.

By 2015 we had included calling to Australia, Canada and Hong Kong in our summer campaign. In the 2016 spring campaign we called mainland China and Singapore for the first time. In summer 2017, we ran a test campaign that included calling Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Nigeria.

In the 2017-2018 academic year, we extended our calling to 180 countries.
This session will take a look at why were we prepared to risk jeopardising a successful domestic campaign by rapidly expanding our international calling. We will be able to give an insight to what is involved in preparing for international calling as well as the logistics of looking at who we called and when.
We will look at what worked well, what didn't, and what we learned as a result of the project. We will include participation rates and income, the impact of the project internally and insights into how alumni have been affected as a result. We'll also talk about the future of international calling and its role in our fundraising strategy.

Lucy Gabe, Supporter Engagement Manager, The University of Edinburgh

Chris Bobby, Senior Development Officer, Supporter Engagement, The University of Edinburgh

14:45 - 15:00 Refreshment Break 

15:00 - 16:00 Breakout Session - Choose One

Dear <<name>> and Other Fundraising Disasters

Bringing Direct Mail In-House Can Save Money and Improve Your Message

Most conference sessions only celebrate success. NOT THIS ONE. Join Rosie Dale and your fellow fundraisers and share your story about the times when things have gone really, really wrong - and how we can learn from these mistakes. And if your tale of fundraising woe is the worst, you could win a prize!

Edd Pickering, Head of Fundraising, University of Reading

Kurstin Finch Gnehm, Head of Individual Giving and Legacies, Royal Academy of Music

Rosie Dale, Partner, More Partnership

Following two campaigns in two years working with a specialist creative agency, we took the decision to bring the copy writing and design for our 2018 direct mail appeal in-house. Previous results had been solid but not strong enough to continue justify the overall spend that was being allocated to it each year, and it was felt that the agency had not quite got to the heart of what would make our alumni sit up. Working with a designer from the university marketing department, we put together the pack ourselves, mailing 16k alumni in July. Response rates are as good as before, gift values are higher and alumni are also updating their contact information in greater numbers. £20k was saved and we finally produced a pack that we felt represented what we wanted to say and how we wanted to say it.

Geoff Savage, Head of Individual Giving, Aston University

16:00 - 17:00 Two Days Backward and Ten Years Forward: What Just Happened, and What's Next in Regular Giving?
U.S.-based CASE author and long-time CASE Europe friend Bob Burdenski returns with his rapid-fire summary of some of the great take-aways and words of wisdom gleaned from the (other) sessions and speakers at this year's conference. Then, Bob looks at the changing skills required of today's regular giving professionals. How might your role change in the next ten years, and what skills might you need to keep your regular giving game up-to-date? Artificial intelligence? Ever-bigger big data? Super-sized stewardship? Bob has written books and articles for twenty years about new regular giving "innovations," but what are his predictions for the next, yet-unseen innovations? He will offer lots of ideas and a fast-paced, festive finale to a great 2018 conference.

Bob Burdenski,
Principal, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving

17:00 Conference Finishes

Headline sponsor: 


CASE Europe reserves the right to amend the programme at any time