Voluntary Support of Education Survey Results and Benchmarking
Discover how to use 20 years of data about 1,000 institutions to understand fundraising outcomes among your peer and aspirant institutions. Anyone can do it.
Learn about the most-recent findings about fundraising outcomes in US Higher Education Institutions.
Ann Kaplan, Senior Director, Voluntary Support of Education, Council for Advancement and Support of Education
David Bass, Senior Director of Research, Council for Advancement and Support of Education
Dartmouth's Award-Winning Gift Opportunity Catalogue: Managing Fundraising Priorities
During this session, the Dartmouth team will share the need, how they solved it, and why and how the Gift Opportunity Catalogue has remained a critical tool during Dartmouth's largest fundraising campaign. Learn how Dartmouth did it and what you could do to consider the use of this kind of solution at your institution.
Janet Gilson, Executive Director of Advancement Gift, Data and Compliance Services, Dartmouth College
Susanna Newsom, Senior Donor Relations Officer, Dartmouth College
Engagement Scoring: What to Consider and How to Use the Results to Drive Change
There are many ways engagement scoring can be used at your institution to improve programming, engagement, and solicitation strategies. In this session, we’ll cover how to get started with a scoring project, secure buy-in, plus review the list of things you should have in place before jumping in. Join the discussion about the types of data to include and what to think about as you consider an engagement scoring project. We'll cover examples of how this type of data can help drive strategy and change at your institution. Hear how Massachusetts Institute of Technology used engagement scoring to identify and understand their alumni and supporters, which then allowed them to adjust programming and create more effective communications. Leave this session with a plan for analyzing your constituent data so you can take the next step to turn that data into meaningful change for your institution.
Ryan T. Bersani, Director of Engagement Analytics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sonal Patel Rossi, Director, Product Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alumni Association
Mirko Widenhorn, Ed.D. Higher Education Administration, Senior Director of Engagement Strategy, iModules
Evolving Dashboard Metrics to Optimize Major Gift Officer Portfolios
Fundraising can often be viewed as a process. We use information during this process to influence business decisions. This is proven over and over again when determining our world of the best possible major gifts prospects. But it also manifests itself when setting a course to establish or deepen relationships, consider moves management strategies, build inspirational proposals, solicit gifts, and create meaningful stewardship. At the University of Vermont Foundation, we aspired to refine major gift officer portfolios and related performance-based dashboards with the goal of elevating performance. This session will present a case study to include a review of the data that suggested change was necessary. We will describe the outcomes of a yearlong journey towards managing smaller portfolios and launching a weighted performance-based dashboard. Our experience includes reflections on process, organizational culture, systems support, and professional development.
Shane Jacobson, President and CEO, UVM Foundation, University of Vermont
Clarence Davis, Vice President for Development, University of Vermont Foundation
Kathy DesJardins, Vice President & Chief Information Officer, University of Vermont Foundation
Gift Processing: Past, Present, and Future
Join us for a fireside chat focused on the evolution of gift processing at Harvard Business School. We will discuss gift processing in this higher education advancement department in past years, how the department operates at present and anticipating gift processing trends in the future. This conversation will include a gift processor who has worked at Harvard for over 35 years, an assistant director who oversees daily operations, and the head of gift management at Harvard Business School. The program will provide some insights into how gift processing has changed over the years and will encourage those in the field to think about and plan for future trends.
Renana Kehoe, Senior Associate Director of Gift Management and Interim Senior Associate Director of Prospect & Development Research, Harvard Business School
Sandy Rose, Assistant Director, Gift Management, Harvard Business School
Anne Quinn, Senior Gift Processing Assistant, Harvard Business School
If They Build It: A Case Study on Campaign Staffing, Productivity, and ROI
In a candid and conversational tone, Linda McIntosh and Elizabeth Zeigler will share their accomplishments and challenges when it comes to guiding schools to building and assessing a development team very quickly, taking advantage of turning points in institution histories to capitalize on and maximize support.
The talk will detail the ways their institutions grew their fundraising teams, set investments in staffing and development, determined and analyzed frontline productivity, and developed a unit fundraising plan to best engender the support of Deans and programmatic officers. The talk focuses on four key areas: overall advancement plan, departmental productivity plan, frontline productivity plan, and unit fundraising plan. Attendees will also learn areas for growth, and what development leadership took on to further inspire their deans.
Elizabeth Zeigler, President and CEO of Graham-Pelton
Linda McIntosh, Managing Director of Development Information Strategies, Harvard Business School
Spread a Culture of Philanthropy: How Artificial Intelligence Engages Humanity
Budgets are in flux, economies are changing, grants aren’t what they used to be. Meanwhile, reliance on fundraising is increasing. Advancement needs to evolve to keep up. The question becomes: “How do we spread a culture of philanthropy to ensure sustainable giving?” Under new leadership, Quinnipiac University is at an inflection point and focused on increasing the productivity of its development team. In an effort to make fast faster, great greater, and smart smarter, Don Weinbach, Vice President for Development & Alumni Affairs, considered how he could elevate his team away from mundane tasks and spend more time doing what they love to do: building relationships with people who can support higher education. He chose to integrate AI-enabled fundraising into Quinnipiac's advancement process to accelerate results in ways never thought possible before. In this session, Don Weinbach and Adam Martel, CEO of Gravyty, will examine the supporting role of artificial intelligence (AI) to spread – not replace – the responsibility of relationship-building across an organization to support philanthropic giving. Join us as we examine a strategy that ensures Advancement is seen as a strategic (rather than a transactional) partner.
Adam Martel, CEO, Gravyty
Donald Weinbach, Vice President for Development & Alumni Affairs, Quinnipiac University
Designing Engagement for All
Higher education institutions are under intense scrutiny as tuition, student debt and philanthropic necessity increase. Some wonder whether our institutions are fulfilling their mission to make the world a better place. As advancement professionals, our job is to build meaningful relationships with our alumni. We focus on the relationship of alumni to the university, and may overlook the broader impact on society. Structural barriers and restraints, in our work, make it challenging to pursue equity, at both an institutional and societal level. We know that there is no “one size fits all” approach to alumni engagement, but how might be empower alumni to think about equity and our institutional mission? We make efforts to leverage data to focus a fuzzy picture of our diverse alumni community, but how might we explore a more inclusive representation of our community? The goal of this session is to identify the structural biases and blindspots at our institutions that restrain us from truly making the societal impact that we might like to make. We will unpack these biases in order to redesign what our work can look like as we embark on this new decade. This will be a participatory session where we will explore who we are serving, why we are serving them, and how these two considerations align with your school’s mission and vision. Who is and is not included in “all?”
Marvin Vilma, Assistant Director, Annual Leadership Gifts, MIT Sloan School of Management
Sarina Noone, Associate Director, Events and Engagement, MIT Sloan School of Management
MENTOR PROGRAMS: Choose an online program or create your own?
Can you develop and implement your own mentor program/course instead of using an online mentor program? See how our School has developed a thriving mentor program that not only engages our alumni, but also our students.
Fran Graham, Manager, Office of Alumni Relations, University of Connecticut, School of Business
Katherine Santos, Alumni Relations & BCLC Manager, University of Connecticut School of Business
Are You Talking To Me?: Managing Generational Differences in Volunteers
With the graduation of the Class of 2019, we added Gen Z as the newest generation of alumni and volunteers. With more generations to manage than ever before, our jobs are becoming more complicated. Join us as we explore what makes the generations different while learning more about what binds them together and what we need to do to reach them more effectively.
Kim Hunter, Director, Alumni Outreach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Tricia McKeon, Director of Marketing & Communications, Kimball Union Academy
Best Practices For Event Marketing In An Alumni Relations Setting
How many times have you been thanked for “throwing a great party”, when what you do is so much more? In this fast-paced session, Mielle, who brings a social justice element to her events because Northeastern Law School has a strong element of social justice running through much of what they do – even if it’s an event about mergers and acquisitions and Elyse, who brings her strong intercollegiate athletic and large event marketing background will discuss four common higher education event types (conferences, student/alumni networking, regionalized gatherings, and reunions) and how they can should be your strongest engagement tools. Using case studies and real-life anecdotes, this session will appeal to higher education event teams, alumni/ae relations professionals, Marcom and Development professionals mid-level to seasoned professionals, as we discuss pre- and post-event marketing strategies for these events, including the effective use of social media and technology, creating synergy with your MarCom and Development teams and how to apply marketing psychographics and demographics to determine your event goals.
Mielle Marquis, Director for External Relations Law School/Advancement, Northeastern University
Expanding Your Faculty’s Role in Alumni Engagement
National research shows that college faculty are one of the most important elements alumni remember from their student experience. The University of New Hampshire is in the second year of running the Faculty Engagement with Alumni Academy. Come learn more about this program that gives alumni the opportunity to re-engage with faculty in a social setting.In partnership with UNH’s Engagement and Faculty Development office, the program fosters mutually beneficial relationships between faculty and alumni. Several times a year in workshops, ambassadors learn strategies to share their research and classwork with alumni in interesting and accessible ways. Faculty then engage with them at targeted events, connecting alumni with what is happening on campus and encouraging them to give to the school’s philanthropic efforts. After the event, faculty members report back interactions and provide valuable updates on alumni accomplishments. During the last two years of the program, faculty members have attended over fifty events. They have also become more actively involved and invested in our alumni engagement efforts. It’s been a mutually beneficial professional relationship model with a lot of great success.
Successes over the last year include:
A physical sciences faculty member took alumni she met at a reunion on a private tour of her marine facilities and then received a $1000 donation from them a week later.
A marketing faculty member that took part in an alumni event at a local winery, met the owner and made a connection to have him come speak in his class to students about business innovation.
Three faculty ambassadors came to present about the program at our summer Alumni Association Board Meeting, connecting with many high-level volunteers and donors.
Several ambassadors have filmed webinars and contributed to our Wildcat Wisdom Online (WWO) series targeted to provide career resources to alumni.
A business school faculty ambassador led a "Women in Leadership" panel discussion for local alumni, helping us to attract a sold-out crowd.
A political science faculty member involved in the ambassador program helped us grow the attendance at a Washington DC area alumni event by personally inviting past students via email.
A liberal arts faculty member ran classroom experiences for alumni at reunion weekend.
An engineering faculty ambassador agreed to present about her bridge infrastructure project to local alumni and helped us sell out the event with more than a hundred people in attendance.
Jenn Woodside, Director, University and New Hampshire Engagement, University of New Hampshire
Susan Entz, Associate Vice President, University of New Hampshire
Emerging Trends & Best Practices in Alumni Career Services
Nicole Anderson, Associate Director of Alumni Career Services, Tufts University
Audra Lavoie, Alumni Career Advisor in the Center for Career and Experiential Education, University of Rhode Island
Growing International Strategy: Aligning Mission, Leadership, Development, and Alumni initiatives
How does your institution take advantage of the growing internationalism of academia, students, alumni, and philanthropy? What does it mean to be a global institution? International philanthropy is in a state of transition with emerging and growing opportunities around the world. How do we manage through a variety of cultures of philanthropy, expectations of donors, parents, and friends? How should our own institutional culture evolve? During this session, we will share an institutional perspective and a broader sector perspective on how to develop and implement international strategy into advancement and institutional agendas.
Factoring in internationalism with the institutional mission and Case for Support
How to effectively leverage international alumni, parents, and friends
Building and managing a team to sustain international alumni and development activities
Managing relationships and expectations
Effective communications, events and leadership tours
How to manage through international fundraising regulations and administrations
Volunteers and international board development
ROI and risk factors with respect to international operations
Nicholas Offord, Senior Vice President, International, Marts & Lundy
Marc Weinstein, Vice-Principal of University Advancement, McGill University
Sensitive Data Collection
How are you using data fields such as gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation? Are you creating new codes to capture gender diversity? How do you address alumni with intentionality if we are not saving preferred pronouns? How do you market affinity group programming when the target audience depends on self-identified data? This panel will discuss alumni demographics and how we are looking at data collection now and in the near future.
Moana Bentin, Community Manager, Affinity and Shared Interest Groups, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ryan Bersani, Director of Engagement Analytics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Imanah Mahmoud, Assistant Director, Regional Engagement, Brown University
Calicia Mullings, Associate Director, Alumni Affairs and Development, Cornell University
Kirsten Lundee, Director, Strategic Alumni Engagement, Boston University
Inclusion in Advancement: An Overview
The demographics of our alumni are changing rapidly, and it is our responsibility as advancement professionals to change with them. Join us as we discuss not only diversifying our field, both professionals and volunteers but creating an environment where everyone can thrive.
Lauren Wojtkun, Director, Alumni Experience, MIT Sloan
Austin A. Ashe, Associate Director, Undergraduate Education, MIT Sloan School of Management
UNH's Approach to Alumni Engagement Metrics
How do you truly measure engagement at a constituent level and as an entire alumni population? How do you track progression? Should event attendance impact engagement more than a volunteer activity? Should a consistent giving history factor more than a one-time high impact gift? These were just some of the questions that the University of New Hampshire (UNH) posed when trying to determine the best way to measure alumni engagement in the areas of “Go, Give and Help”.
This talk will outline how UNH is shifting to a weighed engagement scoring model, how the model was designed including unique front-end functionality within their CRM, what factors contribute to the score, and how the score can be applied to other areas within Alumni Relations to measure engagement of specific populations.
Megan Meagher, Director of Alumni Programs, University of New Hampshire
Kristin Lambert, Associate Director of Information Technology, University of New Hampshire
Alumni and Volunteer Engagement
Theresa J. Lee, Senior Consultant, Responsive Fundraising
Danielle V. Auriemma, Director, Alumni Engagement, Harvard Medical School
Alumni at Arms Length - Disconnected Alumni
Higher education institutions that are non-residential or primarily non-residential face far more difficulties in creating a strong alumni base of those individuals who commuted to campus for their entire academic careers. Additionally many adult students are degree completion candidates, needing only a few courses to graduate and are less likely to see themselves as connected to the institution. Others, are the "swirlers" those who have attended a smorgasbord of technical, community college, for-profit and public institutions and are collecting credits towards a degree without any particular connection to any higher education institution. Last, but certainly not least, are those increasing numbers of students who are graduating with degrees from on-line programs and may never step foot on their "home" campus. A brave new world for building alumni programs and alumni relationships.
Dahlia Lynn, Ph.D., Professor of Public Policy, Planning and Management, University of Southern Maine
If You Build It, Will They Come? Engaging Graduate Alumni in an Undergraduate World
Melissa Calderisi, Graduate Student, Northeastern University
Danielle Reddy, Director, Student/Alumni Relations, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professional Development Fund: A Case Study
Nicole Anderson, Associate Director of Alumni Career Services, Tufts University
Amelia Varteresian, Alumni Relations Officer, Volunteer Management, Tufts Office of Alumni Relations, Tufts University
Ain’t Misbehavin’: How Behavioral Economics Can Understand and Predict Why Donors Give
Analytics and Data Science in fundraising offer a comprehensive approach to understanding “what” may happen, but very little into “why”. This session will present philanthropic activity, as merely outcomes and expressions of engagement. Engagement, is the “why” people do or do not support, and Behavioral Economics provides the framework to understand, and measure.
From the elephant and rider in annual giving to applications of this approach at a major and principal gift level and the concept of the “two yeses,” this session will challenge attendees to approach a new way of thinking about constituent activity, and new opportunities to have a measurable impact on key outcomes.
Alexander Oftelie, Managing Associate, Bentz Whaley Flessner
Rebecca Scott, Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations, Tufts University School of Medicine
Annual Giving: Strategy and Sharing Session for Small Advancement Shops
The aim of this session is to provide a space for colleagues in small shops to have an open and interactive forum to discuss the challenges faced in the effort to grow a successful Annual Fund program with limited staff and budgets. The session facilitators will open the discussion with topics, but will invite attendees to share their best practices, questions, challenges, and strategies regarding Annual Giving. The goal is also to create an opportunity where small shops can learn from one another’s efforts and help attendees build a network of colleagues who can be resources to each other beyond the conference.
Amy Lee, Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Middlesex Community College
Elise Vokt, Annual Giving & Alumni Relations Officer, MassBay Community College
Breaking through to New Audiences: Increasing Participation Through Peer Engagement
The days when donors would give simply based on institutional loyalty are fading. Today’s donors, especially young alumni and soon-to-be graduates, want to know that their gift is making an impact.
Kevin Morgenstein Fuerst, the Senior Director of Annual Giving at the University of Vermont, will provide a case study of UVM's efforts to create a culture of philanthropy with their youngest donor population. Soon-to-be graduates and young alumni participate in the LUVMYCLUB campaign, a fundraising challenge for student clubs and organizations, and renewal efforts such as The Catamount Challenge, where alumni and students can support their favorite sports team or athletic program. In 2019, The Catamount Challenge saw over 34 percent of gifts come in as a result of direct peer-to-peer outreach.
Kestrel Linder will illuminate the case study against data drawn from the digital fundraising of 700+ schools. The presenters will share best practices and highlight actionable tactics to increase giving and peer-to-peer engagement.
Kevin Morgenstein Fuerst, Executive Director of Annual Giving, University of Vermont Foundation
Kestrel Linder, Co-founder and CEO, GiveCampus
Bridging The Gap: Can You Make A Difference From 3,000 Miles Away?
Have you ever heard "I only like to support organizations that have an impact on the local community" or "Campus is so far away, I feel so disconnected?" It takes a team effort to bring a potential donor from barely connected to major supporters. Join regional and school-based gift officers for a discussion about engagement strategies, partnerships, and ways to “bridge the gap” as top prospects move around the globe.
Andrew Horgan Director, Leadership Gifts, West Coast, Boston University
Meghan Frost, Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Boston University
Building the Donor Pipeline in the Small Shop
The struggle is real! How do you build a lucrative major and planned giving program when your attention is divided, you are understaffed, and are operating on a shoestring budget? How do you find potential donors when you lack dedicated prospect research staff? How do you find time to cultivate prospects when you are also running the shop? Two successful small shop veterans will answer these questions and many more, sharing their tips for building a successful major and planned giving program with significant budgetary and staffing limitations. They will discuss the importance of metrics (and how to implement them with a small team), how to use your events more strategically, when to use volunteers (and when not to), how to secure meetings from a cold and disconnected donor base, and how to keep your development staff motivated when they are cold calling and consistently hearing "no."
Eric Gustafson, Vice President, Development & Alumni Relations, Framingham State University
Meghan Hallock, Director of Development & Alumni/ae Relations, Northeastern University School of Law
Effective Student Philanthropy Programs: A Closer Look at Ten Successful Student Giving Programs
Often institutions wait until after students graduate from the college to engage students in philanthropy education or solicitation and communicate with them about the importance of giving back as alumni. Investing in a low-yielding student philanthropy campaign is often hard to justify against high-yielding projects over the short term, but the long-term effects of well-cultivated alumni pay off. The philanthropy discussion should start while you have a captive audience before the student leaves the university. There is such variation from one university to another that it is difficult to find literature on benchmarks measuring program effectiveness or rubrics for program structure. Do institutions engage students from freshman year, or do they wait until the senior gift campaign? How are the funds used that are raised from the program? How are students’ gifts acknowledged? What solicitation approach is best? What messaging is used? This session expands on a qualitative study that explored how eleven programs are structured, implemented, managed, and maintained. Specific features of successful student philanthropy programs are identified. This session is for all audiences.
Amy Harrell, Fundraising Campaign Manager, University of Nebraska Lincoln
Samantha Harclerode, Director of Young Alumni and Student Philanthropy, University of Pennsylvania
Fixing the Leaky Bucket — Addressing Issues in Donor Attrition
Your donor file can be compared to a leaky bucket. New donors enter your bucket with a first-time gift and, hopefully, continue to give on a recurring basis. Unfortunately, donors often lapse in their giving and can be reacquired but is it worth it to do this? Learn how Dartmouth College (and other Case I institutions) are addressing issues of donor attrition through effective and proven direct marketing strategies. Also, learn about a 2018 study to develop a composite database to establish industry benchmarks and study donor attrition issues.
Kate Barlow, Associate Director, Donor Recognition and Stewardship, Dartmouth College
Christiana Chue, Marketing Coordinator, Dartmouth College
Jon Van Oss, Consulting and Analytics, Pledgemine
Going Back to the (Not So) Basics to Increase Annual Fund Revenue and Donors
In order to achieve sustainable growth, institutions at all levels of sophistication must be clear on what they stand for (messaging). Then, they must engage those who are most likely to give (population), with messages that are focused (segmentation), delivered by those most relevant to them (messengers), using the media that is most likely to break through the clutter (platforms).
Undergirding all of these efforts is a commitment to using data and metrics to drive decision-making in the annual giving effort.
Kathy Howrigan, Senior Consultant & Principal, Marts & Lundy
Charlie Melichar, Senior Consultant & Principal, Marts & Lundy
Christene Riendeau, Director of Annual Giving and Volunteer Engagement, College of the Holy Cross
Inspiring Humans, Not Donors: An Exclusive, Interactive Workshop
Based on the smash-hit lecture-style presentation at the 2019 CASE District I conference, we are taking "How to Inspire Humans, Not Donors" to the next level!
In partnership with CASE, Graham-Pelton is pleased to offer an in-depth, hands-on workshop, where you will experience a uniquely interactive and introspective process to take your messaging to the next level – the human level. By understanding how the human brain is hardwired to make decisions, you will learn a simple, groundbreaking framework to structure your case for support.
In addition to hearing the ways this methodology transformed a New England boarding school, we also ask that participants bring projects they're working on as they will have the opportunity to put what you learn into action, with real-time guidance and advice from our leading industry experts.
Merritt Colaizzi, Director of Advancement, Miss Hall's School
Managing Development Officers: Set Gift Officers Up for Success and Hit Ever-growing Goals
Good managers deliver 48% more revenue, according to the Harvard Business Review. Yet less than half of all employees believe they’re working toward clearly communicated goals.
Advancement needs to do better. Strong management leads to more fundraising, which generates more support for the students and institutions we love, so let’s focus on leadership — whether you’re leading a team, managing up, or both.
In this session, we’ll cover four key areas that can help leaders and teams improve performance: creating open lines of communication, setting meaningful goals, removing roadblocks, and giving constant feedback.
Hear how Boston University introduced new metrics to increase activity and change fundraiser behaviors to increase solicitations. With the right goals in place, its gift officers are adopting sales-driven tactics to uncover leads, reach more prospects, build strong relationships, and raise more funds.
We’ll talk about building a strong culture, share resources to improve your management skills, balance the demands of leading a team and managing your own portfolio, and offer takeaways you can quickly implement with your team.
Anthony Barbuto, Assistant Vice President, Leadership Gifts, Boston University
Brent Grinna, Founder and CEO, EverTrue
Marshaling Your Resources: Leveraging Key Advocates and Building an Advancement Board
Join us for a practical hands-on session and learn how to create truly engaged advancement boards and raise sights within your institution. The presenters will share their experience and insight into deputizing internal and external champions to support advancement and development efforts.
Success stories (and some potential pitfalls) around topics such as: assessing your organization's need for an advancement board; building your list of prospective members; recruitment dos and don'ts; creating internal buy-in and setting expectations among faculty and other internal stakeholders; as well as launching and determining the right level of engagement for your board.
A rising tide lifts all boats and after this session, you will be ready to take your organization’s volunteer efforts to the next level.
Lauren Prause, Director of Development, School of Fine Arts, University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc
Michael Van Sambeck, Director of Development - School of Business, University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc.
Strategic Storytelling and Live Events: A Case Study on Creating, Designing, and Implementing High-Impact Messaging and Events throughout the Life-Cycle of the Campaign
Our session will explore the campaign cycle from an event perspective. Using MIT's campaign events as a case study, we will explore the role of live events throughout the cycle, with a focus on when and why to engage external partners for support. We will outline areas of support, best practices, and the pros and cons of external partners, followed by time for discussion and Q&A.
Carole Holladay, Senior Director, Resource Development Events, MIT
Mark Terranova, Senior Vice President, Client Engagement, August Jackson
There used to be two topics that were verboten in fundraising conversations: religion and politics. In today's politically charged climate, plans for individual fundraising meetings can be derailed based on what's in the morning news. Donors have a new appetite to discuss everything from politics to sexual misconduct; access to breaking news is available all day. Discuss different ways to tackle and discuss delicate conversations with transparency and authenticity in today's changing landscape.
Jennifer Williams, Director of Major and Planned Giving, Northfield Mount Hermon
The Schuler Initiative: Transforming Millennial Engagement and Giving
Concerned about the impact of the decline in millennial giving, the Illinois-based Schuler Education Foundation partnered with Ruffalo Noel Levitz and invited five colleges to participate in a three-year initiative aimed at reversing the trend. Our objective at the outset was to learn more about the philanthropic interests and priorities of the millennial cohort, which represents more than one-third of all college alumni.
During the research phase of the Initiative, we surveyed more than 10,000 graduates from the class years of 2002 to 2017, diving deep into more than ten million unique data points, and uncovered new insights into what motivates young alumni and what we can do to increase their engagement and giving.
Learn more about what we discovered and how the findings have translated into actionable strategies and meaningful improvements at Wellesley and Williams. We’ll be sure to share broader take-a-ways as well as the specific efforts around volunteer management, diversity, and inclusion, and micro-campaigns that helped drive 40%+ growth in young alumni giving.
Sarah Kleeberger, Consultant, Ruffalo Noel Levitz
Laura Day, Director of Annual Giving, Williams College
Marisa Shariatdoust, Wellesley Alumnae Volunteer, Wellesley College
Utilizing Networks and Partnerships to Further Programmatic and Center-wide Goals
This panel discussion will focus on supporting fundraisers who are also responsible for programs as part of university centers or institutes. The panel will provide a discussion on a broad range of issues, including how programmatic directors, including faculty, can partner with internal institutional stakeholders, including central Development office, and how smaller centers/institutes/programs ("smaller shops") can be a part of larger international centers and university-wide initiatives. Other points of discussion will include marketing and promotional materials, developing programming, faculty and university leadership relations, and building partnerships within the institution as well as and external relationships, such as alumni. This panel discussion will also include a Q&A and feedback session to brainstorm and analyze examples from the audience regarding best practices and ideas regarding partnerships and other programmatic relationships.
Asia Neupane, Program Director, Yale University
Cristin Siebert, Program Director, Yale University
Dan Murphy, Executive Director of Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and the Harvard China Fund, Harvard University
Your Next Planned Gift is Just a Phone Call Away!
This session will explore current statistics and trends in planned giving and look at new ways to enhance your organization’s planned giving efforts. Discover techniques for identifying planned giving prospects, soliciting potential donors, and closing the gift over the phone. Learn how to make the ask using the mass communication instruments of mail, e-mail, and telephone solicitation. This session will also provide strategy on the selection of donors for a planned giving direct marketing campaign.
Most planned giving donors say “they were simply never asked” for a gift. Learn how your organization can avoid this common pitfall and develop a thriving and profitable planned giving marketing and solicitation plan.
Anthony R. Alonso, President, Catapult Fundraising, Inc.
Samuel Sanker, Managing Director of Gift Planning, Office of Alumni Affairs and Development, Harvard Medical School
Campaign Re-rail: Getting Your Campaign Back on Track After It's Gone Off the Rails
Across the country schools are embarking on campaigns with bigger goals and bolder visions, and the stakes are higher than ever. But what happens when things go wrong? We know what the keys are to campaign success -- but can you turn it around if you've made missteps? In this Pre-Conference forum we will examine Case Studies of schools that did just that. Your lead $10M donor dies without having signed a gift agreement? Been there. Campaign Chair's son gets expelled? Done that. The Board and Head decide to announce the campaign - and the goal - before one dollar has been raised? Yikes! Campaign stalls for three years, then you re-launch - publicly - on the eve of the biggest recession since the great depression? STILL painful. Yet all of these schools went on to success. Join us for this interactive session and explore how to address seemingly insurmountable challenges!
Patrick Burke, Director of Advancement, Williston Northampton School
Ingrid Healy, Principal, Independent School Advancement
You’ve Got This: A Major Pep Talk for Major Gifts Officers
Mitchell Linker, Senior Major Gifts Officer, The Loomis Chaffee School
Creating A Dynamic Cross-Channel Brand To Fit Your School's Personality: The Wheeler School
What is a cross-channel brand? How can you create a compelling one for your school––one that serves to bolster both enrollment and development efforts? Join us for a session that explains in both theoretical and practical terms how to create an authentic, compellingly articulated brand platform that resonates with your school's culture and brings forward your school's distinctive, differentiated brand personality.To illustrate this tangibly, we will walk through a case study of work The Wheeler School did in collaboration with Sametz Blackstone Associates to develop a refreshed and revitalized brand for Wheeler. Building a brand is a process, not an event—and this session will provide attendees with a framework for brand building that produces a unique brand platform.
Alex Budnitz, Principal/Creative Director, Sametz Blackstone Associates
Laurie Flynn, Director of Strategic Communications, The Wheeler School
Since 2013 more than 500 independent schools across the nation have participated in the Independent School Advancement Survey. Join us for this informative session as we explore the results of this year's survey and examine best practice and emerging trends over the past five years. We will review the common characteristics of "high performing" advancement programs - what do they do differently from other schools. Participants will leave with valuable information that they can use to benchmark their own programs as well as learn more about what's working (or not) in other schools.
Ingrid Healy, Principal, Independent School Advancement
Patrick Burke, Director of Advancement, Williston Northampton School
The Fundraiser’s Guide to Smart Data
There is much talk in development and fundraising about data-driven fundraising. What does that mean and how do you do it well? Incorporating key metrics and performance indicators can help elevate your advancement operations. Are you measuring everything that can be measured? How are you using data to evaluate your fundraising program and set benchmarks? Data is an important tool in fundraising more effectively, managing staff more efficiently, and most importantly—raising more money. In this session, we will discuss how you can use your data to drive strategic decision making, staffing decisions, and donor cultivation and solicitation.
Brian Nevins, Principal & Managing Director, CCS Fundraising
Meg Macri, Director of Advancement Services, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
Giving Challenge Frenzy: Leverage Excitement And Maximize Donors And Dollars For Your School
Giving Challenges have become de rigueur in most schools’ annual fundraising plans. Whether they occur over 24 hours or 24 days, these tour-de-force events are a critical component of modern annual giving, as they attract new donors and dollars to your campaign. How can you leverage the excitement of the moment and translate that into greater engagement and participation (and $$!) for your School? Even more, how do you keep those donors coming back each year to support your cause? Walk away with proven techniques to plan, execute and enhance your own Giving Days, as well as a few ideas to infuse more creativity and fun into the game!
Background Information on Session:
We will share the Challenge experiences of two Schools, Trinity-Pawling and Williston Northampton, focusing on the history of their Giving Days, lessons learned, top tricks for enhancing dollars raised, planning strategies, and fun incorporated. Specific topics to be covered:
Identifying donors to provide match funds - aligning and leveraging interest and excitement
School-planned vs donor-generated mini-Challenges
Project Management 101 . . the 3 key areas of focus for a successful challenge: Data (tools and tracking), Volunteers, and Communications
Getting the word out - a multi-channel approach to announcing your event and stewarding your donors
Bring on the Gimmicks - how to add a little whimsy to your Day
Sustainability of your Giving Challenge - discussion re: keeping it interesting, fun, and repeatable
We will present via interactive slide show, with an opportunity for brainstorming and Q and A at the end.
Kate Vengrove, Director of Engagement, Trinity-Pawling School
Ellie Ballard, Director of Annual Giving, Williston Northampton School
Print, Digital, or Both? Maximizing the Reach and Effectiveness of Your Communications
"Digital first" is the phrase of the moment in communications, but the demand for high-quality print materials remains high--especially in advancement. How do you develop a communications strategy that maximizes the advantages of each medium? And how do you do that without doubling your workload? Hear from two communications professionals--one working mostly in print, and the other mostly in digital--about how they've bridged the divide, and learn about best practices in a fast-changing communications environment.
Kristy Kime, Director of Alumni Digital Engagement, Emerson College
Julia Serazio, Director of Development Communications, Boston University
Talking to Money: Digital Engagement Strategies for Wealthy Donors
James Manning, Sr. Assoc. Director, Digital Marketing, Boston College
Storytelling for Annual Giving: Using Rich Content to Make the Case
Your constituents are more inundated with high quality content in their daily lives than ever before. In order to get your message across, it’s crucial that you use compelling storytelling in your communications. From building a year-long content strategy, to identifying great stories, to creating captivating video and rich media content, to bridging the gap from engagement to ask, this session will aim to set you up for success in annual giving storytelling.
This session will explore the current landscape of the digital media world, and how the stories your annual giving team tells fit in. We’ll cover the best ways to identify interesting stories at your institution, as well as the most practical ways to connect your constituents with these stories. Using specific examples of integrated appeals, we’ll walk through the content creation storytelling process from planning to execution.
Phil Dimartino, Co-Owner, 5 Tool Productions
Lindsay Roth, Director of Direct Marketing and Participation, Brandeis University
Don’t Be A Sell Out: Using Sponsorships To Enhance Your Events
Designed for the professional who is interested in exploring new event revenue sources or ways to fine-tune current sponsorship offering, this session features two professionals who have instituted, developed, sold and fulfilled millions of dollars of sponsorships in their careers. Mielle and Elyse will discuss the four main areas of sponsorship opportunities, when sponsorship funding is appropriate (and when they are not), best practices for designing sponsorship packages, securing sponsorships and fulfillment strategies, using real-life examples and interactive conversations.
Mielle Marquis, Director for External Relations Law School/Advancement, Northeastern University
Developing a Stronger Brand Faster and Cheaper With a Learning-Driven Innovation Approach
Branding should not be a static process that is done once every 10 years or when a new marketing leader comes in, but an ongoing process that excites and engages your entire community. It should not be a process developed from the inside-out but one from the outside-in based on the values, behaviors, and beliefs of your targeted audiences. Learn how one institution, Wentworth Institute of Technology, evolved its brand positioning and web site using design thinking techniques to continually test and evolve its brand with engagement from your key audiences. Explore the use of personas, journey maps, empathy maps, prototypes, hypothesis testing, and more to help sharpen, test and evolve your brand. Save money and time using short sprints (discovery, iteration, prototyping, testing, refining, testing, refining…) into the marketplace to learn what works and doesn't work. Let go of rigid brand talking points and consider the power of storytelling in shaping your brand. Help your faculty, students and staff unleash their powerful stories in support of your brand. This design-thinking approach can be used at any level of the organization to derive more creative and meaningful ways of connecting with your audience.
Michelle Davis, Chief Marketing Officer, Wentworth Institute of Technology
Rene Chen, Design Principal and Partner, Danger Fort Labs
From Community Engagement to Communications Tools: Best Practices for Presidential Transitions
A new president only has one chance to make a first impression. This presentation will provide best practices for communications teams to ensure a smooth and successful leadership transition, starting from the moment the departing president announces plans to leave through the installation of the new president and beyond. Attend this session and learn how to build an effective communications strategy for integrating a new president into the campus community.
Christopher Joyce, Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications, Chief of Staff to the President, Bentley University
Sandy Lish, Principal and Co-Founder, The Castle Group
How to Create a National Media Strategy Aligned With a Known Brand
It’s difficult enough to build a strong brand, but many of us work on behalf of colleges, schools, and programs that exist within a brand. There are several considerations for creating a niche within a brand or staking out a brand within a brand. And since so much of a marketing communications office’s time and resources are spent creating and building its image and reputation, its amplification can only succeed if media relations are at the table, too. This session will answer important questions like: How can marketing best include media relations? How can media strategy within an individual college or program to advance your institution’s brand? What are best practices for building internal buy-in for brand-building media relations efforts from within Marcom and across campus? This session will outline how to build a media relations strategy that reinforces your institution’s brand, helps you meet your strategic communications goals, and concurrently highlights your faculty, administrators and students’ successes.
Catherine Wooten, Director of Communications, Oxford College, Emory University
How to Have a Meme-Throwing Twitter War with Your Biggest Rival
When can a long-term rival become an ally? When it comes to fundraising, of course! Amherst and Williams Colleges discovered this first-hand when they set about planning a social media strategy for the Biggest Little Challenge, an annual Advancement effort that paralleled the Homecoming game. Rachael Hanley of Amherst and Shannon O’Brien of Williams will walk you through the conception, creation, and execution of the resulting Twitter War, a first for both schools. This hilarious meme-fest not only pulled in other colleges and high profile alumni, but created record participation in their fundraising efforts and increased social media engagement by over 200 percent.
Rachael Hagerstrom, Social Media Manager, Amherst College
Shannon O'Brien, Assistant Editor/Social Media Strategist, Williams College
Make Every Day a Giving Day: How Dartmouth’s Campaign Site Encourages Participation
Campaign websites often function as a sort of digital case statement, broadly outlining campaign goals and strategic priorities. But case statements are usually focused on leadership giving opportunities. For Dartmouth’s Call to Lead website, we took a different approach, placing primary emphasis on presenting a broad array of online giving opportunities and borrowing key elements from crowdfunding sites to encourage online giving. In this case study, we’ll cover the research and strategy behind this CASE Award-winning website, as well as our focus on continuous improvement and plans for the final phase of the campaign.
Georgy Cohen, Director of Digital Strategy, OHO Interactive
Sarah Maxell Crosby, Senior Associate Director of Digital Communications Strategy, Dartmouth College
Maximizing a Milestone: Using a Moment in History to Increase Engagement & Visibility
A historic milestone can be a launchpad for re-engaging audiences and generating positive buzz about your institution. But, especially for small colleges, there may be no additional staff hired to maximize a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. In this how-to session, you will learn how a small college successfully balanced existing day-to-day operations with year-long celebrations of both the 100th anniversary of its founding and the 40th anniversary of its president's inauguration—and lived to tell!
Molly DiLorenzo, Vice President of College Relations/Director of the Centennial, Emmanuel College
Shauna Delano, Digital Strategist, Emmanuel College
Pitch 2.0: The Next Generation. How Augusta University Cut Through the Noise
Brand reputation and rankings at universities are as important as ever.
With competition for students, funding, eminence and the best faculty, it’s more important than ever to make an impact. With 96% of pitches never being placed, advertising being ignored and an increasingly difficult task of getting attention from media and others, Augusta University decided to leverage technology to take their pitches to the next level.
In doing so, they have earned greater media attention and more website engagement — all through an increased focus on go-to faculty experts. By “setting the table” for journalists, Augusta University is making an impact. Key to this strategy has been the use of a new type of media pitch that presents easy-to-digest story ideas that play into the news cycle.
The process isn’t a big shift; it’s how they roll it out that makes a difference. Each week their communications team puts together three or four brief story ideas, called Spotlights. This new type of media release is then distributed to their curated local, regional and national media lists along with all the other places those Spotlights exist, from social media to news feeds and web pages — even on the faculty profiles themselves.
The fact that the faculty are tagged into the Spotlight (and the story automatically displays on their profile), means more exposure and more engagement. After they send the curated newsletter, they also follow-up with journalists to further develop media relationships and solidify their faculty as the go-to experts.
Augusta University has been monitoring the success of this program and will share the data and what they’ve learned during this session.
Deanne Taenzer, Vice President, ExpertFile
Danielle Harris, Senior Communications and Media Relations Coordinator, Augusta University
Slay It by Ear: Building a Better University Podcast
Two avid podcast fans and a longtime community radio broadcaster working in marketing and PR at the University of Connecticut had a vision to tell UConn’s story through the growing medium of podcasting, without making it feel like stiff, stale PR. We’ll talk about how we got buy-in and freedom to create the award-winning UConn 360, which brings alumni, students, faculty, staff, and fans everything that’s fun, surprising, and unique about this top public university. We’ll show you how to create and promote a compelling podcast on a shoestring budget, how to repurpose podcast content to get more bang for your buck, and how to fit all of this into your existing workflow.
Julie Bartucca, Marketing Project Manager, University of Connecticut
Tom Breen, Manager for Special Projects, University of Connecticut
Ken Best, News & Information Officer, University of Connecticut
We're Cracking the Code on Marketing to Millennials and Gen Z
Marketing to millennials and Gen Z can be difficult. From short attention spans to a research-focused buying process, it is getting harder and harder for schools to get in touch with these hard-to-crack generations. Drawing on his experience working with hundreds of schools worldwide, Finalsite Chief Evangelist Rob DiMartino will help you understand how millennials and Gen Z think and behave, and how to use that understanding to improve you marketing, communications, and advancements initiatives. We will look at case studies of your peer schools who are having success, explore trends, best practices, and strategies for engagement.
Robert DiMartino, Co-Founder/Chief Evangelist, Finalsite
Michael Crawford, Director of Marketing and Communications, Fisher College
Kathy Venezia, Executive Assistant, Finalsite
Career Candy Land: Playing to Win
As a new advancement professional, you have found a career that offers tremendous opportunity for growth, but along the way, you may not find the time or the right coaching to strategically set yourself up for success. Professional development tends to focus on the positive steps you can take to move your career forward, but there are significant pitfalls to avoid as well. Overdependence on an advocate, political missteps, and other behaviors can limit future opportunities. Variables outside of your control such as institutional reputation, the economy, or a change in leadership may require adjustments to your strategy. Using the game of Candy Land, you will learn how to advance your career as well as identify obstacles that may derail your professional aspirations. You will leave with practical tips from industry experts and insights from other participants so you can play to win.
Alexis Kanda-Olmstead, Director of Advancement Talent Management, Dartmouth College
Amy Bronson, Associate Vice President for Advancement Resources and Strategic Talent Management, Boston University
Creating In-House On-Boarding and Training for Frontline Fundraisers
Training and development of staff is necessary to create an effective and successful fundraising team, but it can be a challenge to find external training programs that meet both your staff needs and budget. Most development shops have a base of expertise and institutional knowledge that can be packaged to create frontline training in-house, while also educating staff on institutional history, policy, and procedures. Boston University recently created progressive sessions for on-boarding and training all fundraisers and in this session two senior fundraising leaders will share the process used, lessons learned, and outcomes.
Ronald Gray, Associate Vice President, School Development, Boston University
Josh Aiello, Interim Vice President, Development, Boston University
Identifying & Overcoming Challenges Major Gifts Officers Experience in the Field
This session will cover the challenges that major gift officers often face in the field. Uncover how the traditional use of performance metrics in evaluating a major gifts officer’s performance may be creating challenges that don’t yield the best results for your institution; and, could even lead to losing a MGO to a different institution.
We will discuss how major gift teams utilize both the “science” of fundraising (such as data analysis and evidence-based practices) and the “art” of personal relationship management in crafting donor-centered strategies. The science can help identify prospects as well as their potential interests and capacity, while the art helps gift officers connect the individual with the institution’s mission in a personalized, meaningful way. We will explore the tension this sometimes creates and how teams can support the effective use of both ways of thinking.
Finally, discover some of the soft skills that can be cultivated using emotional intelligence to build more relevant connections while becoming a more effective MGO. And, as a manager, learn how these soft skills can be incorporated into evaluating a gift officer’s performance that go beyond traditional measures. Return to your advancement shop with new ideas for building meaningful donor connections that can be measured.
Diana M. Curran, Senior Director, Changing Our World, Inc.
Shawn Goodspeed, Major Gifts Officer, Simmons University
Keith McKittrick, Assistant Director of Advancement, Quinsigamond Community College
Launching and Leaping: Strategies for Developing Your Career
In this interactive session, we'll discuss strategies to launch, transition, and manage your career. Learn how to develop your personal brand - how to create, communicate, and present your value to the world in an authentic way. We'll explore how to find the right culture, team, and leaders to match your values. Learn tips for getting your resume noticed, how to connect with potential employers, and dos and don'ts when interviewing. We'll go a step beyond the traditional here and offer a deeper dive into identifying and capitalizing on your strengths; the difference between getting a job and developing a career; and what managers are really looking for in the hiring process. We'll challenge you, help you, and facilitate your connection to your authentic self.
Joseph Dreeszen, Associate Director, Alumni Relations, Berklee College of Music
Rosheen Kavanagh, Senior Program Manager Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program (UPOP), Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jennifer Sherman, Senior Associate Director, Major Giving University Advancement, Boston College
Project 2030: Future-proof your organization by investing in the development of middle managers
Advancement leaders know the importance of talent to the success of their organizations. Yet meeting immediate goals and solving pressing problems make it difficult to invest time and resources into long-term strategies for talent development. The key to any talent development program is strengthening the mid-management layer. Investing specifically in this part of the organization has a multitude of benefits: developing strong managers from your best individual performers ensure continuity in your organization's best practices; providing management training gives high performers reason to stay at your organization at a critical point in their careers; having a strong mid-management layer means leaders can delegate the important work of comprehensive talent development; future leaders promoted from within have better chances of success, especially in the context of sustaining organizational culture. To this end, what specific actions do leaders need to take now to future-proof their organizations? In this session, we aim to share ideas and best practices in coaching middle managers, modeling leadership behaviors, building sustainable training and development programs, and structuring organizational practices to support and prioritize the development of managers. We will overlay these ideas over a 10-year hypothetical timeline to emphasize the short- vs. long-term elements of this important investment.
Kathleen Sim Elasmar, Director, Prospect Development, Boston College
Jim Montague, Director, Advancement Talent, Boston College
You’re Hired: Hear From Hiring Managers About Who They Hire and Why (Or Why Not!)
A moderated panel discussion of Advancement Leaders who are in the position of regularly hiring talent. This conversation will focus on a behind the scenes view of how hiring managers are making the hiring decision from job posting to reading resumes to the interview and finally the negotiation. We will ask each panelist to provide their perspective on what makes a candidate shine in the applicant pool, the best ways to get noticed, and how they conduct their interviews. We will also touch on what not to do as we know many who have not interviewed for jobs in Advancement regularly.
Jonathan Schaffrath, Program Director, Boston University
M. Vassar Pierce, Interim Director of Advancement, Pomfret School
Hilary Shepard, Consultant, Development Guild DDI
Fritz Kuhnlenz, Senior Director, Berklee Alumni Affairs