Monday Sessions

Here are NEAGC’s sessions for Monday, May 24th. All times are Eastern.

Use the RSVP links for the sessions you’d like to attend if:
1) You were registered for the 2020 conference, or
2) You work at the same institution with someone who registered in 2020, or
3) You work at an institution that’s registered for the 2021 conference. (Your institution can register here.)

You must use your personal work email address to be approved and checked in. Note that recordings for all sessions will be available after the conference. Do not register for more than one session scheduled at the same time. You’ll receive an email confirmation with joining instructions for each session.

And don’t forget to sign up for our bonus sponsor demo sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, May 26-27.


9:00-10:15 a.m.

Opening Conference Welcome
Andy Bernstein, NEAGC President
Stephanie Rasamny, MainSpring Media Communications – Platinum Sponsor
Opening Keynote Session
Building Philanthropic Partnerships that Lead to Transformational Giving
Ron Schiller, Aspen Leadership Group
RSVP for this session.

Each organization has donors with the potential to make that organization a priority in their giving–they will see that organization as a principal partner in their philanthropy, helping them achieve an impact on society that is important and meaningful to them. With deep belief and sustained confidence in that organization, some of these donors will make that organization the beneficiary of the largest gifts they will make in their lifetimes, and some of these gifts will be transformational for the organization. Examining what transformational donors say about their own giving, we will discuss how we can position our organizations, beginning with a donor’s first gifts, to build effective philanthropic partnerships that lead to the largest gifts of a lifetime.


10:30-11:15 a.m.

We Pivoted, Now What? Looking Ahead to “Precedented” Times
Jake Strang, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Alumni Annual Giving, University of Pittsburgh, Dan Benvenuto, Director for Annual Fund Programs, Columbia University, Deidra Miles, Director of Annual Giving, UMass Lowell, Lisha Bodden, Director of Development, School of Nursing, Rutgers University Foundation and Marci Paton, Executive Director of Annual Giving, Villanova University
RSVP for this session.

Last year, we all made changes, adapted, and “pivoted” during unprecedented times. But what happens when we return to “precedented times” in a post-Covid world? In this panel discussion, we’ll briefly discuss how different institutions plan to take learnings from the last year into the next generation of annual giving and alumni engagement. Looking ahead, some strategies will continue, others will be left in the past. Beyond annual giving strategies, we’ll discuss the impact on staffing in as many look to “return to campus” as well.

A Newcomers’ Informal Discussion:
What I Wish I Knew When I Started
Skylar Beaver, The Lawrenceville School
RSVP for this session.

New to the profession? Welcome! First time attending the Northeast Annual Giving Conference? Welcome! Join Skylar Beaver for an open discussion about NEAGC, careers, the profession, and anything else on your mind!

Leveling Up Your Giving Challenge
Stuart Seidel, University of Albany
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In this presentation we will talk about different ideas and tips that are easy to implement but will help take your giving challenge to the next level and make it seem like a larger event that your donors just can’t miss.

Building a Stronger Annual Fund with Prospect Development
Marybeth Oskowski, The Winsor School, and Emily Donohue, University of Massachusetts Boston
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In this session learn how prospect development can make your annual giving program stronger and poised for growth while delivering smarter donor communications. Whether you come from a small shop or a larger one, you’ll leave this session with tips and resources you can immediately use in your work today.


11:30-12:15 p.m.

Alumni and Constituent Networks that Work… for You: A Discussion on Peer-to-peer Engagement
Katie Sampson and Levi Dillon, Temple University
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Your volunteer advocates really are your best advocates. This session will explore and discuss strategies to activate volunteers and spread authentic awareness of engagement programs while cutting through the noise of forgettable mass messages. Temple University will outline its constituent-centric approach to alumni relations and annual giving and reveal its combined peer-to-peer efforts to engage alumni and constituents. The session will then open up for a conversation on ideas and feedback-sharing on steps advancement professionals can take to activate volunteers and social ambassadors to cultivate enhanced relationships with – and among -constituents.

Gala Fundraising in a Pandemic: Creative Planning and Lessons Learned
Jocelyn Malik, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
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Nonprofits worldwide have been forced to pivot and reimagine their fundraising efforts due to the impacts and constraints caused by the COVID pandemic. How do you design a traditionally in-person event such as a gala fundraiser in the current environment? What are some pitfalls and lessons learned from virtual fundraisers? Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh held its virtual gala on June 14, 2020. Learn more about how it pivoted last-minute and executed a successful event by thinking creatively and leveraging its strengths and volunteer support.

Athletics Fundraising 101: Identifying, Cultivating, Soliciting, and Stewarding Athletics Donors
Kylie Laurenitis, Springfield College
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Discuss winning strategies on how to expand your institution’s athletics fundraising efforts by working smarter, not harder. Discover best practices for working across campus, collaborating with coaches, and developing fiscal year plans through the identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of your athletics donor base.

Writing For Donors: It’s Not What You’re Selling; It’s What They’re Buying That Counts
Sarah Gnerre and Elyse Carter, Five Maples Development Communications
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Using a documented body of knowledge, best practice, research and made-every-mistake-at-least-once experience, your presenters will illuminate your way toward compelling fundraising appeals donors want to read. There will be examples of year-end appeals and well-aligned, donor-centric emails and donor impact reports.


1:00-1:45 p.m.

A Leadership Annual Giving Forum: Pandemic Edition
Amanda Lazarus, Brown University | Will Freske, University of Pennsylvania | Jenny Alstad, College of Charleston | Colin Cumming, American Association of Chemical Engineers
RSVP for this session.

You’ve got a portfolio of leadership annual gift prospects in a Zoom world. How do you identify your prospects, engage with them, ask meaningful questions, learn about prospect interests, ask for a gift, say thank you (or not), remember everything you just learned, follow up and then do it all again? It’s an open forum about all things formerly-face-to-face fundraising and the leadership annual giving fundraisers who are finding success while navigating in a Zoom world.

Turn Off the TV – What to Do With All These Channels
Jonathan Van Oss, Pledgemine and Stormie Kirby Harless, Ball State University Foundation
Watch a preview of this session!
RSVP for this session.

Most of us struggle with just trying to reach our donors with one channel. Now there is “multichannel” and even “omnichannel” fundraising. It doesn’t need to be as intimidating as it seems, no matter how small or large your institution is. Learn how you can reach your donors in the most effective way possible by “listening” to what they tell you through their own giving behavior. Also, learn how Ball State University successfully targeted and connected with their donors and prospects despite a global pandemic in their 2020 CASE award-winning “One Ball State Day.”

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Maximizing Impact through Recurring Donations
Sydney Cross, Hamilton College
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In the face of downward-trending participation and an increasing difficulty of being heard, a recurring gift program can help your institution acquire and retain donors and deepen relationships with constituents. Using Hamilton College as a case study, learn how your institution can build and support a recurring giving strategy to keep donors years after year.

Open Discussion Forum:
Technology and Resources to Enhance Your Annual Giving Program
Kylie Laurenitis, Springfield College
RSVP for this session.

Join Kylie for an open discussion about all things technology and tools.


2:00-2:45 p.m.

Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow: Building a Pipeline for Lifelong Philanthropic Action
Terrance Smith, University of Georgia
RSVP for this session.

Whether you’re looking to start a new student advancement program or had one for years, join this session to learn how you can prepare students for lifelong philanthropic action at your institution. In this presentation, expect to receive an overview of the University of Georgia’s approach to educating students about philanthropy, recruiting and developing student volunteers, and engaging students through signature programs and events.

Giving Day: Planning for a Successful 24 Hours
Summer Handzlik, Canisius College and Amy Irwin, GiveGab
RSVP for this session.

Summer and Amy will be sharing best practices for a successful 24-hour giving day event. Summer will highlight how she uses the GiveGab giving day platform and works with the GiveGab team before, during, and after her Giving Day.  They will also share data illustrating the history of Canisius’ Giving Day and the year-over-year growth.

Utilizing Data to Drive Annual Appeals
KeriAnne Tisdale, and Jenny Dupré, Choate Rosemary Hall
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First, we’ll share our email metrics and discuss the lessons we learned from studying our data. Then we’ll look at how we used that information to improve engagement with our e-solicits and increase online giving year-over-year.

Giving Trends and Ways to Use Them to Adjust Solicitation Strategies
Mirko Widenhorn & Tessa Burke, Anthology
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With the end of another academic year approaching, it’s time to rethink your giving strategies as you plan for the upcoming year, and we have tips to help. We’ll cover results of our survey of over 18,000 alumni as it relates to giving, identify online giving trends, and share opportunities to use the data to refine your strategies. We’ll share examples from higher education institutions that can help you adjust your solicitation or Day of Giving approach. And of course, no session is complete without talking about how to use information to identify new segments to focus on. Leave this session with ideas for quick changes to your approach as well as longer term strategies that you can implement in the coming year.


3:00-3:45 p.m.

Donor Relations
Clay Connor, University at Buffalo
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Examples of donor relations events and outreach at UB over the past year.

Texting to Increase Donations
David Goodwin, TextAim and Sarah Pinto, Quinnipiac University
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The use of texting to reach your donors can improve communication and fundraising. Studies have shown that people are much more likely to look at a text rather than answer the phone or read an email. This presentation shows you how to implement a texting strategy to increase giving.

So, You Are a Zoom Fundraiser Now?
Stephen M. Rodriguez, Harvard University
RSVP for this session.

Let’s dive into being a fundraiser in this remote world by discussing what is working and what the work might look like moving forward.

A Student Philanthropy Sourdough Starter: Lessons Learned in Lockdown
Kathryn Mandalakis, Fordham University
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With the pandemic shaking up plans for, well, everything, many of us have taken up new hobbies or altered the ones we already love. For Kathryn, it’s been sourdough bread – all day every day. But just as baking bread takes learning and adjusting, so does our work with students, especially during the pandemic. Join a facilitated discussion about student philanthropy programs and the lessons and changes we’ve all made throughout the past year. Whether your student philanthropy program is a fresh new sourdough starter or a fully baked bread, there’s so much we can all learn from each other.

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Virtual Happy Hour
Join us for a fun networking event on Toucan. You will need to create a log in, but once you are in the room, you can jump around and join different conversations, just like a real happy hour! We will have group chat topics that you can join, or feel free to have a one-on-one or small group conversations about any topic on your mind!
Register on Toucan and RSVP for this session.