2023 – Tuesday Sessions

Here are NEAGC’s sessions for Tuesday, March 27th.
All times are Eastern.

Download the at-a-glance conference schedule.

9:00-10:00 a.m.

Conference Opening Welcome Session:
All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss… Welcome, Introductions and a Celebration of 20 Years of NEAGC
Skylar Beaver, Conference Chair and Bob Burdenski, Conference Director
Carl Fowlkes, UMBC
UC Ballroom

Well-known Crystal Apple teachers Skylar Beaver and Bob Burdenski and Skylar Beaver launch the 20th-anniversary 2023 Northeast Annual Giving Conference with a festive anniversary welcome, some conference memories, and a rapid-fire rundown of their favorite annual giving conference sessions and speakers to follow. Join Skylar and Bob as they provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come, and hear a special welcome from our sponsors.

10:00-10:30 a.m.

Presentation of the 2023 Diane Thompson Award
Colin Hennessy, Ed.D, (2019 Recipient) Presenter, with Tammie Ruda (2015 Recipient) and Bob Burdenski (2022 Recipient)
UC Ballroom

The Diane Thompson Award is an annual award presented to a senior annual giving professional who, in the opinion of the Northeast Annual Giving Conference Committee, has exhibited excellence in annual giving practice and commitment to the profession. First presented in 2015, the award is named after Diane Thompson, a founder of the Northeast Annual Giving Conference back in 2003.

10:30-11:00 a.m. – Break

11:00 a.m.-NoonBreakout Sessions

A Love Connection: Annual Giving & Engagement within an Advancement Model
Colin Hennessey, the University of Iowa Center for Advancement
UC Ballroom

Annual giving and constituent engagement haven’t always been close friends – they may have even been frenemies. With more shops moving to an advancement model, we can’t afford to take our toys and go home. Instead, we must find every opportunity to work together, leverage resources, and align goals to move forward. In this session, we will discuss how to work with your engagement colleagues, add value for both teams, and ultimately deepen the relationship with your audience. Hear examples of success, failure, and lessons learned. You’ll walk away with ideas to test and tools to help advance your internal relationships while advancing your organizational mission.

Building, Retaining and Motivating Annual Giving Teams
Elaine Ezrapour, Fordham University, Daniel Burgner, The George Washington University, Lauren Grabowski, University of Connecticut Foundation and Carmela Rossi, Colby College
UC 310

Direct Mail: Tips, Tricks, and Tactics
Matt Sulzer, MCR
UC 312

Is it time to spice up your approach? Direct mail is fundamental to building the donor pipeline, but with new channels in the mix it may be time to revisit your mail strategy. Join this conversation to discuss printing hallmarks that target the right people, grab donor attention, calendar the project, and integrate storytelling to optimize results. Attendees will receive free samples from other institutions and gain insights on:
✔ Audiences – segmenting, engagement, personalization
✔ Calendaring – channel integration, production, timing
✔ Design – photos, layout, color
✔ Packaging – envelopes, paper stocks, inserts

Great Giving Days – A Forum
Alyssa Breunig, Quinnipiac University and Jon Gregory, Cornell University
The Discussion Lounge

An overview discussion about planning and executing a successful giving day campaign, including:
✔ Niche audiences and programs beyond an overall institution giving day (i.e. athletics);
✔ The importance of early engagement of alumni, parents and other advocates,
✔ Gaining internal staff (ex: athletic coaches) buy-in;
✔ The importance of social media promotion and segmentation

Noon-1:30 p.m. – Lunch on Your Own
(See the nearby choices.)

1:30-2:30 p.m.Breakout Sessions

Let’s Talk About Digital Gift Officers
Janelle Stephenson, University of Connecticut, Jake Strang, University of Pittsburgh, Lane Sulzer, Vassar College, Sarah Harlan, UC Davis
UC Ballroom

What’s all the fuss about DGO/DXOs? What do they actually do? Are you wondering if your organization could benefit from one? Are you interested but not ready/able to commit an FTE to the role? What are some of the best practices you might incorporate? This will be a forum discussion with a panel of existing digital gift officers and managers. Attendees should come away with a better idea of how they can leverage this emerging role as part of their program.

Volunteer Management Across the Decades: Using Customized Approaches
Dominique Marcial-Clark, The Lawrenceville School
UC 310

As much as we’d like to believe our volunteer programs are a one-size fits all approach, that’s oftentimes not the reality when we are working with cross-generational volunteers. Join The Lawrenceville School’s Associate Director of Reunion and Class Campaigns to explore tailor-made volunteer programs for age-based cohorts from job description to volunteer stewardship. Attendees will develop an understanding of custom solicitation messaging, media platform usage, and communication styles and strategies for both groups of volunteers.

Launching a Donor Engagement Center at GWU
Justin Ware and Sophia Macek, firstname.co, and Daniel Burgner, the George Washington University
UC 312

In March of 2020, the George Washington University call center went dark, shuttered along with much of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Flash forward to January 2023 and students are back in fundraising roles at GWU, but the model is different: multichannel, video-centric, with journey-based marketing tactics leading the way. Hear from GWU leadership and partner company firstname.co as we dig into the following:
✔ The decision-making process that led to GWU launching a multichannel Donor Engagement Center (DEC)
✔ Metrics to understand the performance of the GWU DEC
✔ The core elements of a student-centric, video-first Donor Engagement Center

RetriEVER Grateful Tour – Hybrid Regional Programs & Engaged Leadership
Stanyell Odom, Carl Fowlkes, Poulomi Banerjee, UMBC
The Discussion Lounge

Question: What to do with a presidential transition at the same time a campaign is concluding (the most difficult stretch!)? Answer: Go on tour! Learn how UMBC’s Alumni Engagement, Annual Giving, Major Gifts, and Communications & Marketing team collaborated on the RetriEVER Grateful Tour, a national tour with campus leaders engaged in discussions with the outgoing president. Discover how fresh marketing strategies boosted attendance (even during a pandemic) including robo-calls and paid social media. Hear how the tour engaged alumni and identified new volunteers. See the giving impact for annual and major gifts.

2:30-3:00 p.m. – Break

3:00-4:00 p.m.Breakout Sessions

The Recurring Riddle of Regular Giving
Bob Burdenski
UC Ballroom

We’ve chased the elusive, effective recurring giving program for years. We’re proud that we can set up a recurring gift, but most educational institutions (and other not-for-profits) still struggle to attract significant numbers of recurring gift (monthly or otherwise) donors. There are successes to be found in other sectors (PBS) and even other countries (UK). What are the obstacles – and solutions – here in the U.S.? Come and see a collection of recurring giving strategies for promoting, stewarding, recognizing and sustaining a recurring donor base. Join CASE Laureate Bob Burdenski for a range of regular giving samples, solutions and strategies from other institutions.

Topping Off the Pyramid: Annual Leadership Gifts
Tammie Ruda, West Wind Consulting
UC 310

Institutions are always looking to their annual funds to provide them with a growing source of income. While annual fund teams are usually expected to pay attention to 100% of the prospect pool, 90% of the dollars received typically come from only 10% of the donors. In this session, we’ll give ourselves the opportunity to focus on that 10% and talk about proven ways to identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward these top potential donors to maximize their support for your institution. Whether your school’s leadership gifts start at $250 or $2,500, this session will apply to you.

Fundraising BS: Leveraging Behavioral Science to Drive Donor Conversion Rates
Jamie Williams, GiveCampus
UC 312

Making it easier for donors to give may just be the most effective strategy in the savvy fundraiser’s toolkit—and we’ve got the conversion metrics (and science!) to prove it. In this session, we’ll show you how applying classic principles of persuasion science to your everyday fundraising challenges can dramatically improve donor engagement and move the needle on dollars raised. Using the Fogg Behavior Model as a framework for understanding donor motivation and ability, Jamie Williams will share the simple strategies you can implement to achieve impressive real-world results.

The Spaghetti Method: Creative Brainstorming to See What Sticks
Diana Forbus, University of Maryland
The Discussion Lounge

In this active session, participants will work in small groups on creative brainstorming exercises, ultimately applying these skills to answer a “”How Might We…”” question around an Annual Giving topic. The idea of this session is not to necessarily walk away with the perfect one-size-fits-all answer, but to explore the possibilities that emerge when you foster an environment of creative thinking. Often when we’re thinking about fundraising we get bogged down by what is feasible, dismissing ideas that just won’t work and end up with familiar results. In this session, participants will generate answers to the question and evaluate these ideas (good and bad, creative and wacky, unknown and familiar) for potential, and develop them for feasibility. It’s really easy for people to pre-judge their own ideas as weird and therefore wrong, when we should be comfortable throwing out ideas, no matter what. Oftentimes, some of the most creative ideas come from saying yes and then seeing if you can make something work instead of just automatically saying no.

4:00-4:15 p.m. – Break

4:15-5:15 p.m.Breakout Sessions

Transforming Your Annual Giving Processes
Elizabeth Keppel and Aly Harant, The Johns Hopkins University
UC 310

Follow the transformative business process improvements that enable a high-volume annual giving shop to operate at its highest possible efficiency. Presenters will break down a year in review of project management enhancements, including: mapping out current/former workflows, identifying inefficiencies, implementing solutions, and measuring progress. Attendees should come away armed with the right questions to ask and the best steps to take to get their annual giving team running like a well-oiled machine.

Anatomy of a Digital End-of-Year Campaign
Stephanie Rasamny, MainSpring Media Communications
UC 312

Calendar year end campaigns are critical to our annual giving efforts. Thirty percent of individual charitable giving in the US occurs in December, and nearly half of online giving for the year is secured the final week of December. To capitalize on these trends, we need to have a strong digital plan in place and we need set our plans in motion well before December. In this session, we’ll dissect a calendar year end campaign – strategy, engaging, warming and closing. Our focus will be on digital tools though we will touch on how to integrate other channels. You’ll walk away with key takeaways and action items to set your team up for success for the EOCY FY24.

An Independent School Annual Giving Forum
Skylar Beaver, The Lawrenceville School, Laura Christian, The Winsor School, Katie Grant, The Peddie School, Amily Dunlap, Groton, Director of the Groton Fund
The Discussion Lounge

5:15-6:30 p.m. – Ballroom Drinks Reception Sponsored by MCR