2024 Tuesday Conference Sessions – Mar 5

Here are NEAGC’s sessions for Tuesday, March 5th.
All times are Eastern.

8:00-9:00 a.m. – Breakfast in the Rangos Ballroom

9:00-10:00 a.m.Breakout Sessions

An Annual Giving Directors’ Forum: Life After the US News Alumni Participation Decision
Megan Rajski, Fairfield University, Dominique Matteson, University of Connecticut, Kellie Sullivan, Boston University and Jake Strang, University of Pittsburgh (Moderator)
Rangos Ballroom

From participation, to pipeline? From socks, to more sustained stewardship? From alumni, to other audiences? And what of AI? We’ll talk about CASE’s Alumni Engagement Metrics, the continuing value of a broad base of giving (including capital campaign participation goals), and what it all means for a variety of educational institutions.

Does Anyone Want to See Your School Administrator Do a TikTok Dance?
Driving Donor Engagement Through Brand-Appropriate Social Media Content
Sally Neidhard, St. Edmund’s Academy (Pittsburgh, PA)
McKenna/Peter/Wright Room

The best fundraisers know that every touchpoint with a constituent is an opportunity for donor engagement, and that includes social media content. Social media trends can be fun, but when your fundraising audience includes generations of alumni, parents, and students, it is important to ensure that your content is consistent with the brand of your school, especially when it is content encouraging your community to contribute to a giving campaign. This presentation will discuss and demonstrate ways to utilize trends in brand-consistent ways, while driving donor engagement.

An Annual Giving Stewardship Forum: Strategic Stewardship At Scale
Bob Burdenski, Moderator
Connan Room

Annual giving “appreciation” used to mean a prompt thank you letter and “see-you-next-year” strategy. But giving data have confirmed the importance of retaining the donors you already have, and our multi-channel world has opened new cost-effective methods of showing appreciation and giving donors hugs throughout the year. Bob will host a discussion and share a global collection of effective giving pages, personal thank you videos, digital impact reports, online satisfaction surveys and more, and will show how institutions are successfully turning high-volume gift transactions into philanthropic relationships – without exhausting the team and breaking the budget.

Data Overload?
Stephanie Rasamny, MainSpring Media Communications

Getting lost in the numbers? Or having trouble capturing the right ones? No matter how clever our creative is, if we don’t capture the right analytics then it’s hard to tell if we’ve engaged our audience. In this session, we’re diving into email, social and web case studies with strategies to capture the analytics you need.
Danforth Room

10:00-10:30 a.m. – Break

10:30-11:30 a.m.Breakout Sessions

Emerging Digital Marketing Trends
Jon Gregory, Cornell University
Rangos Ballroom

Remember those things called compact discs? The late 90s saw the rise of the “Now That’s what I Call Music!” CDs; a greatest hits compilation series that put all of our favorite music in one place. Well you won’t get a cd in this session because we’re talking digital but rest assure we’re bringing the hits! Come learn about some of the latest digital innovations that peers across the industry are starting to leverage and how you may start to strengthen a digital first strategy for your fundraising operation. We’ll discuss what is new and different, cover some of what’s tried and true, and make sure everyone walks away with a fresh new concept that is ACTIONABLE and scalable now-matter what size shop you work in. Digital innovation doesn’t always equate to expensive–we’ll tackle many free and low-cost concepts that get you excited to try something new and different!

Black Philanthropy in Action: Annual Giving Excellence and Community Impact
Dieter Cantu, University of Texas at San Antonio
McKenna/Peter/Wright Room

Join us for an engaging exploration of the unique contributions of Black philanthropy within the context of annual giving. This presentation will delve into innovative strategies and success stories that highlight the impact of Black-led initiatives in the realm of fundraising. Attendees will gain valuable insights on fostering inclusivity, driving community engagement, and leveraging diverse perspectives to enhance their annual giving programs. Discover the keys to succes and leave inspired to elevate your own fundraising efforts with a renewed focus on diversity, equity, and community empowerment.

What’s the Big Deal? Key Differences Between a Call Center & an Engagement Center
Jeff Pacini, David Wishart and Kindra Samons, Legends
Connan Room

The future of the student call center continues to be a hot topic across the industry. The term “Engagement Center” has become a buzz word, but what does that really mean? How is it different from the traditional call center? During this session we dispel the myths, share insights, explore data and inspire your institution to evolve your call center from a “channel” to a coordinated “strategy.”

Direct Mail: Going Beyond the Envelope to Optimize Results
Sara Pond and Matt Sulzer, MCR
Danforth Room

This session goes beyond the envelope to showcase ways to balance your annual giving solicitation plan. Explore a variety of direct mail examples thoughtfully packaged with other channels. And, be ready to join in a lively discussion of creative ways to prime your audience and formulate the right solicitation frequency that optimizes results.
This session is packed with:
 ✔ LOTS of Direct Mail Samples!
 ✔ Audience-Priming Ideas;
 ✔ Donor Journeys;

11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – Lunch on Your Own
(See some nearby choices.)

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

Does Your Annual Giving Program “Lift?”
Allison Kolb, Stevens Institute of Technology
Rangos Ballroom

Annual Giving programs often do the heavy lifting of pipeline development, but not every program has the means to hire manpower or vendors to address the challenges of discovery and referral work in leadership annual giving. Explore lessons learned by anchoring and designing mailings to improve leadership annual giving outcomes, identify donors ready for major gift qualification and how to ensure your Annual Giving program is elevating your pipeline.

Ethics of Discovery in a Digital World : Uncover What’s Next to Elevate Your Donor Connections and Receive Impactful Contributions.
Julia Tauriello, and Caleb Landmesser, University of Pittsburgh
McKenna/Peter/Wright Room

Digital fundraising is still a new frontier in the development world. This session will cover how digital gift officers, programs, and practices are beneficial to organizations, and the identified best practices you can incorporate. Ethical discovery in the digital realm will be a throughline, specifically the ethics of discovery leading to strengthening relationships with your constituents in a genuine way that is mutually beneficial.

Testing Can Be as Simples as A/B (…C)
Ramy Rahal, The Bushnell Performing Arts Center
Connan Room

So you’ve just sent out an appeal that pulled in more dollars and donors than any appeal you’ve ever sent. Do you know what made it so successful? Or perhaps you were disappointed in the results of a recent email campaign. Did you learn anything from it to help avoid a similar result in the future? Testing should be a core part of all Annual Fund programs. It is the best way to learn about what works (or doesn’t work) with your donors and prospects, it can salvage value from a disappointing appeal, and, despite involving some math, can be accomplished by anyone. In this session, we’ll go over how to design a useful test, share some tips for how to analyze results, and discuss some pitfalls to avoid.

Fighting the Donor Downturn: How to Leverage your Community
Ellie Ballard, The Williston Northampton School, and Holman Gao, Boost My School
Danforth Room

“The donor downturn is hurting everyone,” but it doesn’t have to. Join us for a group discussion about how The Williston Northampton School was able to leverage what makes their community unique to increase engagement and participation, all without a robust volunteer structure. Additionally, learn how a focus on donor retention and young alumni can power your engagement (and fundraising) to create a community that can not only weather the “Donor Downturn,” but excel during it. Plus, hear from Boost My School CEO Holman Gao about the data he collected from hundreds of schools, thousands of donors, and millions in gifts to learn actionable takeaways that your school can use to match the results seen by Williston. After this discussion, you will be able to:
✔ Identify and utilize your school’s unique culture to increase participation and gifts.
✔ Build data-backed initiatives that you can use to engage your community.
✔ Create creative campaigns that bring LYBUNT and SYBUNT donors back into your pipeline.

2:30-3:00 p.m. – Break

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

How to Write Emails People Will Read
Ashley Budd, Cornell University
Rangos Ballroom

People still read emails, but not the way you think. Learn and practice five (5) tested writing techniques that leverage how people read emails. Create better emails with a trusted from name, a clear subject line, simple language, and action-driven links and buttons. You’ll see email designs formatted for scannability, ensuring messages are received and links are clicked.

An Independent Schools Forum
Sally Neidhard, St. Edmund’s Academy, Jenn Harris, The Hun School, and Skylar Beaver, The Lawrenceville School
McKenna/Peter/Wright Room

Engage in an informal session tailored for independent school annual giving teams. This session offers a platform for attendees to discuss pressing topics and share insights in a collaborative environment. Join us for an interactive conversation where participants can delve into challenges, trends, and best practices shaping the landscape of annual giving in independent schools. We anticipate a dynamic exchange of ideas and a valuable opportunity for networking and learning among all attendees! 

From Buzzwords to Brass Tacks: Real Solutions to Challenges in Individual Giving
Megan Sanko, Gravyty, Kellie Sullivan, CFRE, Boston University, and Chris Biehn, St. John Fisher University
Danforth Room

As a fundraiser, you are constantly faced with new challenges when it comes to reaching yearly goals. Adapting to donor preferences, balancing competing priorities, building authentic and long-lasting relationships all require time and a thoughtful, agile strategy to reach donors of today. In this panel, fundraising experts at Boston University and St. John Fisher University will talk about challenges their teams face in engaging today’s donors and the real solutions that led them to provable success. In this panel, discover:
✔ Common challenges annual giving teams face today;
✔ How to engage thousands of donors in a personal, meaningful way;
✔ Actionable tips for creating a stewardship plan that works.

4:00-4:15 p.m. – Break

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

Planting Seeds:
Purposeful Programing to Create a Culture of Philanthropy in Students and Recent Grads
Sarah Cullen, University of Pittsburgh
Rangos Ballroom

Through Panthers Forward, a strategic initiative created to reduce student debt and support future success, Pitt students have gained a better understanding of philanthropy and are prepared for their future upon graduation. This program elevates the student experience by offering practical programing focused on life skills, financial wellness, student loan understanding, time management, philanthropic education, and more. As a result, Panthers Forward participants graduate ready to be successful, with a stronger affinity for the University, and an increased giving rate compared to their peers.

Bringing Back Your Phonathon/Engagement Center at a Small Scale
Kaylee Collins, Rowan University and Kathleen Howley, RNL
Connan Room

This session will cover the following:
✔ The value of a digital engagement center on campus including trends in donor loyalty to phone as a channel specifically.
✔ How to accomplish a digital engagement center on a tight budget using RNL Engage which allows for true omnichannel outreach (annual giving retention, renewal, and acquisition at scale, as well as pipeline building).
✔ What we learned about fundraising during COVID that has motivated the Rowan University team to not just reinstate their phone program, but transition it to accomplish meaningful engagement.

Non-stop Lead Generation: Embracing Personalization to Build Your Pipeline
Dawn Baumgarten, Amy Harvey, Emily Tucker, University at Buffalo
Carissa Snarski, EverTrue

Danforth Room

Past giving is often the best indicator of future generosity, making the annual giving donor pool an excellent source of leads for leadership, major, and planned gifts. In a world where 72% of consumers expect personalization — and 76% are disappointed when they don’t receive it — intentional segmentation and personalized outreach at scale are crucial for identifying these leads. In this session, you’ll learn how the University at Buffalo’s digital gift officer program is capitalizing on personalized outreach at scale to retain and upgrade current donors, build stronger donor relationships, and strategically qualify new major gift prospects. You’ll Discover:
✔ How to enhance 1:1 outreach using video effectively.
✔ The importance of cadence-based outreach in breaking through the noise and securing meetings.
✔ Strategies for conducting more effective meetings that generate leads and improve donor relationships.
✔ Techniques for utilizing direct mail to build a multichannel strategy
✔ Why advancements in Generative AI will amplify the scope of personal outreach.