Sharing the Alumni Fund Fundamentals 23rd Annual Conference
July 19-21, 2009
Denison University, Granville, Ohio


Sunday, July 19, 2009

3:00 – 4:30 p.m.         Conference Steering Committee Meeting
(Steering Committee members only)

3:00 – 8:30 p.m.         Conference Registration

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.         Opening Reception

6:30 p.m.                    Dinner and welcome

8:00 p.m.                    Keynote Speaker
Steve Denne, Denison Class of 1978
COO, Heifer International and former VP of Development Operations, American Red Cross

9 p.m. – midnight      Informal gathering and networking on campus

Monday, July 20, 2009

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.         Breakfast

8:30 – 9:45 a.m. Breakout Session I

Operation “Show me the Money!”: Developing a strategic plan for your Annual Giving program!
Steve Denne, Denison Class of 1978 and COO, Heifer International
This session for Directors will illustrate and discuss how to effectively plan and execute strategy. Where do you begin? How far out should you plan? What is the process to create a strategic plan and who is involved? How do you utilize staff and keep them motivated while managing your budget and allocating resources? How do you identify and then integrate new programming? How do you use data to guide strategy and solve problems? These are just some of topics for this session as we take time to think about the future and how to position our programs for the challenges ahead, even as we close out and manage the current fiscal year.

What I Wish I’d Known My First Year
Betsy Howard, Development Officer, Alumni Fund, Williams College
Courtney Lewis, Assistant Director of Annual Giving, Franklin &Marshall College
Meg Connolly, Assistant Director of Alumni and Parent Programs, St. Lawrence University
You’ve entered a strange, but happy, world: the World of Annual Giving. Come learn about the opportunities you should seek out and the challenges you will face. From a quick review of Annual Fund Basics to ideas on how this job can point you in many career directions, this session will help answer some of the big questions for annual giving newcomers.

Using New Media before it becomes Old Media: Are Facebook and Twitter relevant to Annual Giving?
Dave Steadman, Associate Director, Alumni Giving and Director, Young Alumni Giving, Hamilton College
Amy Wilson, Associate Director of Annual Giving, Connecticut College
Everyone’s doing it – so should you!  Is Facebook the right place to solicit Annual Fund gifts?  Who’s tweeting about unrestricted giving?  Does anybody care?  There are a lot of avenues to go down with new media, but how do Web 2.0 engagement strategies really get alumni to give?  Dave will lead a discussion focused on exploring the challenges and rewards of playing ball in the new social media sphere.

Building an Effective Reunion Giving Team
Melody Woolley, Associate Director of Reunion and Class Giving, Vassar College
Chris Harmon, Director of Annual Giving, Gettysburg College
Ben Rupp, Associate Director of Annual Giving, Gettysburg College
Some alumni want to plan the party, other want to raise the funds.  How do we find the right volunteers, and help them all work together to ensure our reunion programs are raising the largest gifts possible?  Considering the country’s current economic situation, how important is a great reunion giving program for maintaining and acquiring donors?  Do challenges really work?  What are some creative examples you have found to raise your classes’ sights and numbers?  And once the weekend and fundraising is over, how do we keep our volunteers engaged until the next reunion?

9:45 a.m. – 10 a.m.    Coffee Break

10:00 – 11:30 Plenary Session I

Larry Lafferty, Assistant Vice President for Development, Ohio University
While we continue to use student callers and personal visits to reach our alumni in a one-on-one setting, the need for an effective direct mail strategy still remains strong. Learn more about the art of designing and creating a powerful direct mail letter for the annual fund.  How do we persuade the reader to take action? How do we make our case for support and produce fundraising pieces that motivate our audience to give to our institutions?  In a society operating with an ever-increasing variety of communication vehicles, how do we know that our message is being heard and understood? Does our communication stand out? Is it relevant and powerful? Will our messages last? Join us as we discuss why the “written word” still matters in today’s communication environment, and how it can work for us in today’s highly-competitive, philanthropic arena.

11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.    Informal Lunches/Working Lunch 

1:00 – 2:15 p.m. Breakout Session II

Business Models Can Help Support Annual Giving Success
Jon Hysell, Director, Annual Fund, Hamilton College
Jim Trapp, Director of Annual Giving, Williams College
As the work of annual giving professionals grows more complex, awareness and selective application of business practices can help provide new approaches to fundraising. The growing need to do more with less is not new in the commercial arena. Lessons drawn from this sector are transferable in whole or part to academic advancement.  This session will take a look at topics ranging from the cost effective allocation of resources to the importance of building high performing teams. Other topics for discussion will include competitive collaboration, differentiating between what is highly valued vs. simply valuable, using data to drive action and the value of a "bottom line mentality." 

Making The Ask
Emily Johnson, Director of the Annual Fund, Washington and Lee University
During these challenging economic times, it is more important than ever to conduct personal solicitations of leadership annual giving prospects.  An institution’s ability to connect directly with our most loyal donors and capture both their interest and philanthropic support will become increasingly valuable to annual giving offices.  These visits should also play an important role in uncovering both passion for the institution and rating information for future visits and opportunities. 

This session will focus on the basic fundamentals of personal solicitation such as how to make that first contact with the donor, what to cover in the first meeting and how to ensure we get an “ask” made in that meeting.  A well developed solicitation plan, the confidence to ask and moving the conversation towards a philanthropic discussion will be a vital skill set for any annual fund officer.  Maybe you are just starting in your career or want to brush up on some new strategies - bring your questions and experiences to share in this interactive session.

Turning your Senior Class Gift into GOLD
David Sims, Assistant Director, The Wesleyan Fund, Wesleyan University
Chris Reilly, Assistant Director, Connecticut College
Does your senior class gift bring in high participation numbers only to have the GOLD disappear the following year? Join us for a discussion on how to build on the momentum of senior class giving to boost young alumni giving in the years following graduation.

How do you spell budget relief? M-i-c-r-o-p-h-i-l-a-n-t-h-r-o-p-y
Sue Regier, Director of Annual Giving, Middlebury College
The Annual Fund isn't all about unrestricted giving any more. Donors, especially young philanthropists, want to direct how their gifts impact the cause. With the advent of sites like and, donors now can choose from a variety of options when spending their philanthropic dollars. Come and see how one STAFF school is using these tools and share your ideas for new ways of looking at budget relief.

Writing Workshop - Assembling the Pieces of a Powerful Solicitation Letter
Larry Lafferty, Assistant Vice President for Development, Ohio University

2:15 – 2:30 p.m.         Coffee Break

2:30 – 3:45 p.m. Breakout Session III

Management – Hiring, Retention and Evaluation
Panelists: Chris Clark, Director of Annual Giving, Carlton College and TBD
Higher Education Development work, and as a part of that Annual Giving, is changing and changing rapidly. In order to have successful programs, we need to be knowledgeable managers. How do we make the best hires and know that they will fit? What should we look for? How do we make the case when we need more staff? How do we keep our best people? How do we help them continue to grow? In this session, we will answer these questions and more as we work to collectively become better managers.

Tips to Make Your Life Better as a Newcomer to Development
Jason McCahan, Associate Director of Annual Giving, Bucknell University
Barbara Knauf, Senior Assistant Director, St. Lawrence University
We’ve been in your shoes as a newcomer to development.  Let us share with you the tips that we have found that make work and travel experiences a little less hectic.  We will share a variety of travel tips and suggestions as well as everyday office stuff.  Feel free to bring us your questions from travel to office policies to building a career in the Annual Fund and the world of Development – things you want to ask but can’t ask your directors! 

Volunteer Panel
Panelists TBD

Writing Workshop - Assembling the Pieces of a Powerful Solicitation Letter
Larry Lafferty, Assistant Vice President for Development, Ohio University

4:30 p.m.        Depart for Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

8:00 – 9 a.m. Breakfast Roundtables

Join us for an open forum to discuss and ask questions about topics that were covered during the conference.  Walk away with reference materials and other tools to help further your career in the Annual Fund.
I’m New to Development, Part 2
Breakfast Roundtable Discussions

Young Alumni: Challenges and Opportunities with Elizabeth Duncan, Assistant Director, Oberlin Alumni Fund

Career Paths in Higher Education Development with Pam Vasiliou, Director, The Wesleyan Fund

Exploring Undergraduate Philanthropy: Moving Beyond the Senior Gift with Mike Tone, Annual Fund Coordinator, Colgate University

Anybody home?  Communicating effectively with volunteers with Amy Wilson, Assistant Director, Connecticut College

Making the Annual Fund a Priority with your Communications Office with Jon Hysell, Director, Annual Giving, Hamilton College

9:00 – 10:15 a.m. Breakout Session IV

Hearing Voices: What is our data telling us to do, and should we be listening?
Carolyn Kimberlin, Director of the Colby Fund, Colby College
We’ve become fairly sophisticated at generating, tracking and analyzing data.  But what about implementation after we’ve seen the numbers?  What are the numbers really telling us to do and does it work when you listen to your data?  After hearing about how Colby College has made the most of its investment in data, please join the discussion and share how your institution is interpreting its data. What changes have you implemented in your program based on data analysis and where have you seen the least and greatest results?

Leadership Giving and Upgrades
Jocelyn Kane, Director of Annual Giving, Trinity College
Mary Bauer, Associate Director of Annual Giving and Director of Reunion Giving, Franklin and Marshall College
Leadership Giving Upgrades and Donor Retention Strategies to stay in touch with your best donors, with a focus on upgrades, stewardship and retention.  Learn why "people give to people," and how to make the most of peer-to-peer solicitation and your traveling gift officers.  Hear about an excellent program on motivating donors to continue to give.

Take the chance: Change is good for your Phonathon
Elizabeth Anderson, Assistant Director, Oberlin College
Terrance Williams, Jill Sherman Fellow for Leadership in Advancement, Haverford College
Change: It is important to switch things up in your phoning program.  Learn suggestions on how to improve the dynamics of the work place such as staffing, training, incentives and morale.

Unconventional Times lead to Unconventional Approaches
Jason McCahan, Associate Director of Annual Giving, Bucknell University
Greg Bader, Director of Annual Giving, Denison University
So what did your institution do differently to help increase donors and dollar support?  Come and hear the results and pro and cons of using premiums.  From address labels to t-shirts, Bucknell and Denison will share with you their approaches from start to finish.  They will also discuss how various appeals have been segmented including appeals for athletes, reunion, leadership donors, lybunts, sybunts, and alumni couples.  We will also share how we asked for $10,000, $25,000 and $50,000 Annual Fund gifts via the mail, despite the economy.

Parents Fund
Vicki Stouffer, Director of Parent and Family Giving, Oberlin College
Maureen Feeney, Assistant Director of the Annual Fund, Denison University
Parent giving is a core component of any comprehensive annual giving campaign, but how do you successfully ask parents to give more on top of the tuition many of them are already covering?  This session will talk about how to gather the right information, build a pyramid of parent volunteers and create key leadership partners through an engaged Parent Committee.

10:15- 10:30 a.m.       Coffee Break

10:30 – Noon Plenary Session II:

Lessons Learned from Non-Higher Ed Not-for-Profits
Even before the economic downturn, fundraising was incredibly challenging. Now – more than ever – fundraisers need to think outside the box and consider new ways to connect with potential donors. How do non-higher ed not-for-profit organizations tackle their fundraising programs, what can we learn from their approach, outreach, and communication plans, and how are they adjusting their efforts in response to the current economic state? Hear from a diverse panel of Columbus area fundraisers who will give us a glimpse into their work.


Noon               Lunch

Noon               Conference Steering Committee Meeting and Luncheon
                        (Steering Committee Members only)