Sharing the Annual Fund Fundamentals

26th Annual Conference
July 16 - 18, 2012
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY


Monday, July 16, 2012

10:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.                                         
STAFF Registration Center Hours of Operation


11:00 a.m.                                                           
Conference Steering Committee Meeting


12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Informal Luncheon Service for All Attendees


2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.                                 
Plenary Session I: The Core Of Fundraising:  Helping All Constituents Understand The Annual Fund’s Strategic Role
Inge Reichenbach, Former VP of Development, Yale University

The Annual Fund is where it all started. Support of education would not have reached $42 billion in gifts without the pivotal role historically played by annual funds.  Yet challenges abound: how do we make all donors feel that their small annual gifts still make a difference? Will the mega campaigns make the annual fund effort obsolete? Is the use of social media the solution to the continued growth of the annual fund, or is it accelerating its decline? How does the increasingly international character of our constituencies affect overall strategy? Inge Reichenbach will reflect on, and engage you in, these and other strategic issues of our annual fund work.


4:00 p.m.
Optional HWS Campus Tour                           


5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Welcome Reception
Wear gear from your institution


6:30 p.m.
Dinner and Keynote Address
Cathy Williams, Vice President for Communications, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Your alumni magazine IS a cultivation and stewardship tool!  Vice President for Communications, Cathy Williams, will discuss the process of identifying stories, profiles, ads, etc. for The Pulteney St. Survey, and how these pieces are an integral part of targeted prospect management at Hobart and William Smith.


Post-Dinner – 11:00 p.m.                           
Informal Gathering and Networking on Campus


Tuesday, July 17

6:00 a.m.
Spinning Class
Michael Hoepp ’05, Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

6:00 a.m.
Yoga with Maddie
Maddie Stough, Assistant Director for Reunion Giving, Davidson College


8:00 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.                                          
STAFF Registration Center Hours of Operation


8:00 a.m.
Breakfast Roundtable Discussions

Challenges – Andrea Pacheco, Colorado College
Trip Planning – Maddie Stough, Davidson College
Student Philanthropy - Jen Conetta, Middlebury College
Newcomer Tips – Emily Randall, Wellesley College
Faculty & Staff Campaigns – Paul Ryan, Associate Director Annual Giving, Hamilton College
Athletics – Tom Harvey, Bucknell University
Career Longevity – Tracy Fossum, St. Olaf College
Interacting with Major Gifts Officers – Emily Draud, Washington & Lee University
Skill-based Staffing – Sue Regier, Middlebury College
Reunion – Caitlin Kiley, Washington & Lee University


8:30 a.m.
Plenary Session II: Brand Personality And Your Annual Fund Campaign
Mark Neustadt, Principal, Neustadt Creative Marketing

What is brand personality? It has something to do with how radically the greeter at Wal-Mart differs from the shirtless young man guarding the rope line at Abercrombie and Fitch, but what could that possibly have to do with annual fund marketing?

In this session, Mark Neustadt, of Neustadt Creative Marketing, will explore a dimension of marketing rarely discussed in the context of annual fund communications – the infusion of brand personality into annual fund campaigns. He will explain what is involved in building a brand personality and then how one would go about implementing it in your annual fund program.


10:15 a.m.
Coffee Break


10:45 a.m.                              

Case Study: The Wesleyan Segmentation Strategy For SYBUNT vs. Consecutive Year Donors
Mark Neustadt, Principal, Neustadt Creative Marketing

In 2010, Wesleyan University embarked on a major research effort to identify distinguishing characteristics of its SYBUNTs versus its consistent annual fund donors. The goal was to arrive at actionable information for improving giving rates among SYBUNTS. Mark Neustadt, of Neustadt Creative Marketing, will review the research and the marketing steps that followed.

Hallmark Reunions
Emily Draud, Director of Annual Giving, Washington & Lee University
Carolyn Kimberlin, Director of the Colby Fund, Colby College

Reunions provide your shop the chance to showcase campus improvements, network with alumni, and educate a large number of constituents about your current institutional needs. Hear from two institutions with proven success in Reunion Giving, both with hallmark reunions such as the 25th and 50th and those milestones leading up. This session will provide an in-depth look at Colby’s 25th and 50th programs as well as W&L’s reunion efforts beginning with the 5th reunion. You will be introduced to a non-traditional, multi-year giving model and learn how you can apply it to your institution.

Amherst Connects, Chapter Two: A New Engagement and Participation Model      
Elizabeth Anema, Director of the Annual Fund, Amherst College

Ready to think about a new model for alumni participation and engagement?  Come hear the next installment of how Amherst Connects is unfolding.  Following last year’s session on this topic, we’ll explore how it’s creating a new metric for tapping donor participation (for staff and volunteers), how it’s supporting comprehensive stewardship, and how it’s fostering shared goals between the Annual Fund and Alumni & Parent Programs.  There will be plenty of time to share your ideas and learn what’s happening on this front at other schools. 

Volunteer Management
Skylar Beaver, Director of Reunions & Class Campaigns, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Elizabeth Anderson, Assistant Director, Lafayette College

Volunteer Management: 1. Identifying and recruiting 2. Telling them what to do 3. Giving them the tools to do it, and 4. Acknowledging when they've done it.  IT’S NOT THAT EASY!!!!


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. 

Buffet Lunch for Assistant/Associate/Managers/All Guest Schools

Directors Lunch
This luncheon is for Directors of Member Institutions Only


1:15 p.m.

Student Philanthropy and Engagement
Jen Conetta, Assistant Director of Annual Giving, Middlebury College

Building a strong Annual Fund pipeline begins with the students. Join us for a discussion on educating and engaging the undergraduate population and executing an effective senior class gift campaign. We’ll look at strategies to increase average gift size among students and how to increase retention of donors once those students become alumni.

Getting a Handle on 1990s Alumni
Brannon Fisher, Director of Annual Giving, Bowdoin College

This is an interactive discussion that will explore the social and economic circumstances of the 1990s, the “climate” at private liberal arts colleges during those years, and the extent to which those factors continue to impact relationships with ‘90’s alumni. We will also examine current trends in Gen X philanthropy and consider the ramifications for alumni giving into the future. Attendees will have the opportunity to share ‘90’s-specific development strategies that are proving successful. 

The Tools of Engagement: Social Media in 2012
Rob Kerr, Associate Vice President of Communications for Marketing & Publications, Bowdoin College
Paul Fairbanks, Director of Web Communications, Gettysburg College

Join us for a look at the strengths and weaknesses of social media and how these tools can be used to engage alumni and create community.   Explore what is new for 2012 and what has not changed when it comes to engagement.  We will also take a closer look at Facebook and consider the question: What if Facebook was all you had? No website, no email, just Facebook. What would that look like?  This session will be interactive so come prepared to share, discuss, ask and answer questions.

Relationship Management: Getting Responses, Getting on the Road, Getting in the Door, and Getting Gifts
Maddie Stough, Assistant Director for Reunion Giving, Davidson College
Greg Gallagher, Associate Director of Annual Giving, Claremont McKenna College

This session offers a discussion on relationship management with volunteers and donors. Topics covered include prospect research, securing appointments, planning a visit’s goals and strategies, and immediate and long-term follow up. The session will also cover tips and tactics for long-distance relationship management for officers who work primarily through phone and email communication.  Newcomers as well as seasoned veterans are welcome. Come with your own best practices (and maybe not-so-great practices to avoid!).


2:30 p.m. – 2:55 p.m.
Coffee Break – Ice Cream!


3:00 p.m.

You Want Me To Give More on Top of Tuition? Lessons Learned From Parent Giving
Anne Ellsworth, Director of Parent Giving, Kenyon College

In some ways, current parents may be closer to your institution than alumni; they visit campus often, talk to their students regularly, and host friends and coaches in their region. Their understanding of the school's mission and impact make them strong potential donors. Anne will provide an overview of successful strategies for parent engagement and giving. Discussion will focus on how to quickly and effectively cultivate parents the minute their son or daughter is accepted to your college and how to foster a meaningful relationship with the college outside of their student. Learn about possible volunteer structures, special events, and insider communications that can quickly translate into new dollars for your Annual Fund.

Under The Microscope: Focusing on Your Young Alumni
Max DelSignore, Assistant Director, St. Lawrence University                
Lori Pongtana, Assistant Director Annual Fund – Young Alum Programs, Denison College

One of the more challenging groups to encourage participation in fundraising is the young alumni demographic. While no perfect blueprint may exist to yield exemplary giving results, there is one way to develop new strategies: ask! Assessments can be effective vehicles in examining the needs and interests of young alumni. Denison and St. Lawrence each performed focus groups and obtained measurable results from their qualitative studies. This discussion is open for attendees to share other strategies and approaches that have captivated their young alumni.

Business Models IV: Dynamic Decision Making
Jon Hysell, Executive Director of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations, Hamilton College
Jim Trapp, Director of Annual Giving, Williams College

Everything we do involves making decisions. So is it a basic business skill or a sophisticated art? Studies have shown that most people are not as good at decision-making as they think. We will explore the components, variables and process for making a decision and then discover through group discussion how we can direct this understanding and each other’s expertise towards making "great" decisions within our annual fund strategies.

Leveraging Communications for the Annual Fund
Maggie Paine, Director of College Advancement Communications, Middlebury College

How can communications help drive participation and reach dollar goals? In this session we’ll look at how targeted communications can speak compellingly to your audiences. We’ll explore communications across the channels from print to social media and encourage participants to share their own best practices


5:30 p.m. – 6:45 p.m.                                         
Finger Lakes Wine Tasting
The festivities will begin on the HWS quad from 5:30-6:45pm with an exceptional variety of local wines for your tasting pleasure.  Wine will also be available for purchase if you’d like to take home a piece of the Finger Lakes!


6:45 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.                                        
Dinner and Dancing on the HWS Quad!
Time to enjoy the famous Dinosaur BBQ for dinner before we dance under the stars, to the sounds of local party band, Pulsate.  Open Beer/Wine/Soft Drink Bar from 6:30pm – 11:00pm.


Wednesday, July 18

6:30 a.m.                                                            
Morning 5k Run
Casey Peterson, Office of Advancement, Hobart and William Smith Colleges


8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.                                          
STAFF Registration Center Hours of Operation


8:00 a.m.                                                   
Breakfast Roundtable Discussions

Challenges – Teresa Kidd, Wesleyan University
Trip Planning – Laura Christian, Wellesley College
Student Philanthropy – Jillian Beukema, Grinnell College
Newcomer Tips – Paul Budlong, Skidmore College
Senior Gift - Samantha McCracking, Connecticut College
Faculty & Staff Campaigns – J. Fred Rogers, Hamilton College
Athletics - Tom Harvey, Bucknell University
Career Longevity – Carolyn Kimberlin, Colby College
Interacting with Major Gifts Officers – Mary Risner, Franklin & Marshall College
Skill-based Staffing – Sue Regier, Middlebury College
Reunion – Barb Knauf, St. Lawrence University


9:00 a.m.                                                   
Plenary Session III: Embracing Awkwardness and Rejection, or Why Fundraisers Become Serial Daters
Jeff Stauch, Assistant Director of Principal Gifts, Middlebury College

We hate to think about it.  We hate to talk about it.  And we pretend it doesn't happen.  But the fact of the matter is that as a professional frontline fundraiser, your life will be steeped in rejection.  You will hear "No" more often than you will hear "Yes."  Embracing this fact will actually help you in countless ways, both in your approach to individual donors, and also in your longer term, annual goals.  In this session, Jeff Stauch will focus on the fundraiser's mindset and its many paradoxes, and how to use this knowledge - that rejection is inevitable - to your advantage.


10:15 a.m.                                                 
Coffee Break


10:45 a.m.                              

Call Me, Maybe
Matt Fedde, Associate Director of Annual Giving, St. Olaf College
Nicole Schroeder, Associate Director of the Annual Fund, Carleton College

In their heyday, phonathons accounted for significant portions of overall dollars and participation in annual giving programs. With the increased popularity of political campaigns and robo-dialing, has come increased irritation from alumni, and decreased contact rates. As annual giving professionals we must continue to find ways to involve students in philanthropy while keeping costs down.  Join us for a presentation dedicated to sharing what we have learned from the 2008 presidential election, the economic recession, and our own trial and error.

“That’s So Crazy, it Might Just Work!”
Tracy Fossum, Director of Annual Giving, St. Olaf College

Let’s face it, even if you had fantastic results, this is the time of year when every director feels like Sisyphus, the king from Greek mythology, who was punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and then doomed to repeat this action forever.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  For instance, last year, from one idea at one session from STAFF, St. Olaf changed its entire annual giving program in 90 days to embrace current restricted giving and had a record-breaking year.  Let’s take this last session to get the most outlandish and creative ideas from this conference on the table and work as hard as we can together to open our minds to help each other remove artificial barriers to success.

Choice-Based Giving:  Is it Time to Replace the Annual Fund With Something Better?
Craig Arteaga-Johnson, Director of Annual Giving, Pomona College

What if the future of the Annual Fund is no Annual Fund at all? Trends indicate that donors are losing interest in traditional Annual Funds. This provocative presentation explores those trends and shares a vision for a possible alternative: Choice-Based Giving programs that encourage donors to directly support specific departments, programs or activities on campus. We'll discuss the challenges and opportunities that arise when you place donor choice at the heart of your cultivation, solicitation and stewardship strategies. And we'll consider how choice-based approaches used by other non-profits would benefit our donors and schools alike. 

The Ask
Jeff Stauch, Assistant Director of Principal Gifts, Middlebury College

Whether asking for $100, $5,000 or $1 million, there are principles that apply to any solicitation.  One of those principles is that preparation is a key to success.  Another is that follow up will seal the deal; yet another is that the fundraiser isn't always the best representative to make the solicitation.  The list goes on. 

We must also bear in mind that the solicitation is just one step in the broader gift cycle, again, regarding of how much a donor gives.  In this interactive session, Jeff Stauch deconstructs the ask, and with participant help, reconstructs it again. 


12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.                     
Farewell Box Lunch


12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Conference Steering Committee Meeting