Sharing the Annual Fund Fundamentals
31nd Annual Conference
July 17-19, 2017
St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN


Registration for the 2017 STAFF Summer Conference at St. Olaf College is now closed. For information on registration, please contact Theresa Hoffman at 507-786-3505 or hoffma1@stolaf.edu.



Click here to log into your STAFF Portal Account

Under “Reference,” click “File Library.”

Click "Upload File"

Name your file according to the naming convention to  include “SummerConf17,” a brief topic summary, and the last name of the presenter, i.e. SummerConf17_Reunion Giving_Simondet.

Tag your file with the "Summer Conference 2017" tag

Click the green "Upload File" button.


The schedule for the event can be found below, followed by general information. Your Steering Committee is working hard to produce a superior professional gathering that serves the needs of annual giving officers at every career stage. We'll have fun, too!




Monday, July 17


10 a.m. - 6 p.m.           Registration

Buntrock Commons


Noon - 1 p.m.              Conference Steering Committee Meeting

Room 356A, Regents Hall


  3  p.m.                         Keynote Address

Adam Wilhelm, Vice President, Campbell and Company, and St. Olaf Fund Board Chair, St. Olaf College

Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall

Introduction by St. Olaf Director of Annual Giving, Steph McCluskey


  4  p.m.                         Break

Outside Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall


4:20-5:20 p.m.             Breakout Session I


Please note, all session presentations will be available on the STAFF Portal at www.staffschools.org. Under “Reference,” click “File Library.” Files are tagged for Summer Conference 2017 and naming conventions

include “SummerConf17,” a brief topic summary, and the last name of the presenter, i.e. SummerConf17_Reunion Giving_Simondet. Guest school attendees will receive presentations separately.


Session A

Analysis + Strategic Planning = Success: Tips for creating an annual giving roadmap

Jen Stone, Colgate University, Director of Annual Giving

Maggie Patrick, Carleton College, Director of the Alumni Annual Fund

Room 212, Tomson Hall

Whether you’ve been in the annual giving business for years or just getting started in your annual giving career, this session is for you! You will learn tips to meaningfully analyze your annual giving initiatives and how to use that data to develop a strategic plan. You will leave this session with an understanding of how to develop a cohesive annual giving strategic plan that has facilitated buy-in from the highest levels and a road map to success.


Session B

Boosting Black Alumni Giving at a Predominantly White Institution

Janine Hetherington, Williams College, Director, Leadership Giving

Sharifa Wright, Williams College, Director for Alumni Diversity and Inclusion

Room 290, Regents Hall

Come join our breakout where we will present on how Alumni Relations and Development have partnered at Williams College, building on 40 years of Black alumni engagement, to pivot towards focused philanthropic initiatives for the Alumni Fund. During the session we will:

·         give an overview of the significant, decades-long engagement of Black alumni through the Williams Black Alumni Network (WBAN)

·         dive into the creation of Williams Black Alumni for Advancement and Development (WBAAD) and subsequent Annual Giving initiatives

·         discuss challenges, successes and lessons learned

·         send you home with an aspirational “checklist for success” for identity-based/affinity giving initiatives


Session C

Road Warriors: Cultivating Leadership Annual Fund Donors through Meaningful Interactions

Robert Koch, Washington & Lee University, Annual Fund Leadership Giving Officer Liz Cox, Davidson College, Assistant Director of Annual Giving

Brian Myers, Swarthmore College, Associate Director of Individual Giving

Room 210, Tomson Hall

Are you interested in getting out of the office to meet directly with your donors or do you want to improve upon your current visit strategies? In this presentation, three colleges will focus on how to engage in conversations with alumni, through their respective fundraising environments and institutional structures, in order to enhance donors’ relationships with the college and bring their giving to the next level. Through specific examples and handouts, we will discuss how to help Annual Giving staff ask the “right” questions and share impact stories that will excite and inspire both alumni engagement and financial support at an increased leadership level.


Session D

Senior Class Gifts: Investment in the Future

Amy Leveen, Barnard College, Director of Annual Giving

Sydney Bertram, Pomona College, Assistant Director of Community Development and Annual Giving

Room 312, Tomson Hall

You can take your senior class giving from 0 to 60 in just a few years. Learn successful ways to build a program of undergraduate philanthropy, establish rapport with the community, and kick start your young alumni population giving.



5:45 p.m.                              Welcome Reception

Wear gear from your institution.

Plaza between Tomson Hall and Regents Hall


6:30 p.m.                              Dinner

Fourth Floor Atrium, Regents Hall


8 p.m.                                    Trivia

Trollhaugen, Buntrock Commons



Tuesday, July 19


6:30 a.m.                               Running Trails: Carleton and St. Olaf

Maps for those wishing to run on their own are located at the registration table.


  8  a.m.                                   Breakfast Roundtable Open Discussions

Fourth Floor Atrium, Regents Hall


9  a.m.                                Plenary Session I


Corporate Mindfulness Based Training and Building Team Effectiveness Marci Heerman, Potential Project International, Senior Consultant and Trainer Alumni Auditorium (Room 280), Tomson Hall

Join Marci Heerman, with Potential Project International, to learn about recent discoveries in the application of neuroscience and mindfulness within corporate settings to boost personal effectiveness and create high performance. She will share real-life examples from her work with cross-cultural teams over the past 20 years, and the current understanding of why corporate mindfulness has become so valuable in creating organizational excellence.


10:15 a.m.                             Coffee Break

Outside the Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall


10:35-11:35 a.m.                 Breakout Session II


Session E

Applying Mindfulness to Boost Personal Well-being & Improve Team Dynamics

Marci Heerman

Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall

Marci Heerman, Senior Consultant and Trainer with Potential Project International, will present a practical and powerful set of work techniques, mind-training practices, and mental strategies for gaining more focus, creativity, and resilience in today's hectic and sometimes overwhelming working environments.  You will walk away with proven practices for more balance, better energy management, and more meaningful connection to peers and teammates.


Session F

Volunteer focused, and driven, fundraising: How Wellesley used new strategies and tools to energize and motivate volunteers

Katie Wright, Wellesley College, Assistant Director of the Wellesley Fund

Room 308, Tomson Hall

In this session, we will share how we used short-term engagement and fundraising challenges to reconnect volunteers with each other and with Wellesley during typically “slower” times during the year. We will share challenges faced and how success was measured during two specific volunteer-driven campaigns: a 3-day volunteer engagement drive (Wellesley for Wellesley) in the fall, and a week-long challenge for young alumnae. We hope to hear from other schools about tools they use to motivate and energize volunteers.


Session G

The Annual Giving Pipeline: Creating Leadership Donors

Garrett Preisser, Rollins College, Director of Development and Annual Giving

Room 212, Tomson Hall

Our donors come in all different flavors. Some are alumni who know every factoid from the

college’s 100+ year history, while others haven’t stepped foot on campus for decades. Some are parents brand new to the university, and some are community members simply interested in what’s happening on the gown side of town. Learn how to identify, involve, and inspire prospective donors into leadership donors for our institutions.


Session H

Phonathon: Breaking up with our 3rd  Party Vendor

Nikole Adams, Mills College, Senior Director of Annual Fund and Alumnae Relations

Room 210, Tomson Hall

Learn how Mills moved to an in-house call system after a department restructuring, student calling hiatus, and major budget challenges. Hear about the before-and-after, complete with a reveal of a new home-grown calling system.


11:50 a.m.                    Lunch

Fourth Floor Atrium, Regents Hall


  1:30-2:30 p.m.            Breakout Session III


Session I

        Developing an Annual Giving Strategy: What the heck are we going to do?

Chuck Fedolfi, Wesleyan University, Director of Annual Giving

Room 212, Tomson Hall

Annual giving is the most difficult part of the advancement business and for it to be successful everything has to work really well. We generally spend a lot of time executing but not looking at why we’re doing something or whether it’s really helping us achieve our goals. We’ll go through some steps on how to think about our work and create a great plan.


Session J

The “Do’s” of Annual Fund Stewardship - Give the People What They Want Suzanne Gardner, Washington & Lee University, Assistant Director of Annual Giving Room 214, Tomson Hall

What does successful stewardship look like and how do we fine tune it to be most effective? In this session, Suzanne will highlight some stewardship pieces that W&L uses and the effectiveness of each piece. Stewardship strategies that make the most impact require fresh ideas, creative thinking, and often times collaboration. Let’s get together and discuss the creation and implementation of a compelling and powerful stewardship plan.


Session K

The Young Alumni League—Reimagining Young Alumni Volunteer Engagement Dennis Morreale, St. Lawrence University, Associate Director of Annual Giving Room 210, Tomson Hall

Join for a discussion about the young alumni league. Learn how St. Lawrence instituted a unique form of volunteer gamification that closely mirrors fantasy sports. Volunteers compete until the end of the fiscal year to win the coveted title “Young Alumni Philanthropist of the Year.”


Session L

Avoiding the 21st Century Billboard: using targeted social media advertising to drive alumni participation.

Catherine Marhenke, Colgate College, Associate Director of Annual Giving.

Room 312, Tomson Hall

Social media is a great thing, but how can you use it to deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience? In this session you'll learn how to use targeted social media advertising to get in front of the alumni who need to see your giving messages. Learn the basics of how to develop a paid social media advertising strategy and hear about some real world pitfalls that I've experienced and you should avoid.


2:45 p.m.                     Ice Cream Break

Regents Hall Plaza

  3:15-4:15 p.m.            Breakout Session IV


Session M

       Segmentation to Donation: How to keep your groups in the loop

Scott Kleinheksel, Claremont McKenna College, Director of Annual Giving

Cameron Pinckney, Claremont McKenna College, Associate Director of Annual Giving

Room 210, Tomson Hall

Segmenting donors is key to not only message content, but also timing and frequency of outreach. Claremont McKenna uses an RFM-modified segmentation framework used across program areas (communications, phonathon, volunteers, and leadership giving). Learn how they created an easy-to-use framework and develop tweaks or overhauls you can apply to your own segmentation.


Session N

Non-traditional channels: Meeting donors where they are

Casey Accardi, Amherst College, Associate Director of the Annual Fund

Room 214, Tomson Hall

Mail appeals don’t perform like they used to and email open rates continue to drop. Meanwhile, 97% of text messages are read and 53% of Americans use Facebook every day. This presentation will explore ways that Amherst College incorporated text messaging and social media into their overarching communication strategy to reach alumni of all generations where they are.


Session O

Creative Fundraising Strategies

Darcie Giansante, Vassar College, Senior Associate Director of The Vassar Fund

Room 212, Tomson Hall

In this session (with a special emphasis on 50th Reunion Giving but techniques applicable to all) we will explore creative ways to fundraise, strategize, work with volunteers, collaborate with colleagues, maximize your effectiveness, save time, and have fun while balancing your multiple priorities as an annual fund gift officer.


Session P

      Sponsored Challenges: Tips and Tricks for Securing Sponsorship & Meeting Goals

Maria Held, Smith College, Smith Fund Director

Room 312, Tomson Hall

Looking for tips & tricks for matching or "all or nothing" challenges? Maria Held of Smith College is here to suggest guidelines, creative ideas, and to tackle your questions. Smith has done challenges for entire decades, special projects, and individual classes that have nothing to do with “Give Day” or other one-day challenges. Come one, come all!


  5:30 p.m.                     Bus Shuttles to Twins vs. Yankees Game at Target Field

Buses will leave at 5:30 p.m.

Parking lot side of Buntrock Commons

If you chose to drive yourself, remember parking at Target Field is around $10 on average.


9 pm and after             Bus Shuttles from Target Field

the game                      The final buses will leave 20 minutes after the game is over.


Wednesday, July 19


  6:30 a.m.                     Running Recommendations: Carleton and St. Olaf

Maps for those wishing to run on their own are located at the registration table.


  8  a.m.                         Breakfast Roundtable Open Discussions

Fourth Floor Atrium, Regents


  8-9 a.m.                       Conference Steering Committee Meeting

Room 356A, Regents Hall


a.m.                       Plenary II

       Age is just a number… Or is it? Factoring in the Generations

Alyssa Hawkins, Minneapolis Foundation, Director of Giving Programs

Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall

Community foundations have helped individuals and families manage their philanthropy for decades. The Minneapolis Foundation—one of the nation’s oldest community foundations— supports charitable endeavors from the arts to the environment to education. Since 2010, their Fourth Generation program encourages emerging philanthropists to research, connect with, and donate to local charities that make real impact in the community. This program was created in part due to generational differences experienced by donors. This session will highlight the role of community foundations in modern fundraising, while deep-diving into age group factors by examining the Fourth Generation program and the current role of giving across generations through family philanthropy.


10:15 a.m.                   Coffee Break

Outside Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall


10:35-11:35 a.m.         Breakout Session V


Session Q

Community Foundations and Generational Giving Discussion

Alyssa Hawkins, Minneapolis Foundation, Director of Giving Programs

Alumni Auditorium Room 280, Tomson Hall

Join an informal discussion with Alyssa Hawkins and fellow conference members on topics raised from the morning’s plenary talk. This will be an unstructured opportunity to ask additional questions and bounce ideas off each other. Alyssa Hawkins will need to depart at 11:00 a.m. though attendees are encouraged to continue the discussion with their own experiences.


Session R

"What the Heck is a LYBUNT?": Training Excellent Volunteers Maggie Patrick, Carleton College, Director of the Alumni Annual Fund Room 210, Tomson Hall

Peer-to-peer solicitation programs offer excellent opportunities to engage alumni, cultivate donors and volunteer leaders, and boost participation rates. But just how to do you offer the resources your volunteers need to feel excited and confident in their roles? Come join us for a session about best practices in volunteer training, including in-person or virtual events, printed and web materials, and online volunteer management systems.


Session S

Breaking Down Hierarchies: How Oberlin College flattened their class volunteer structure

Connie Skingel, Oberlin College, Director of the Oberlin Annual Fund

David Stonebraker-Martinez, Oberlin College, Assistant Director of the Oberlin Annual Fund

Room 212, Tomson Hall

For over 90 years, Oberlin College has engaged in peer-to-peer fundraising. This model, however, was staff intensive and not satisfying to alumni volunteers. In this session, we will learn how Oberlin restructured their class agent program in order to deepen alumni engagement, increase giving and participation, better align the alumni relations and annual giving programs, address communication challenges, and increase accountability. By flattening the hierarchy and breaking down silos, Oberlin was able to create a class team structure which has shown promising early results.


Session T

Parents Fundraising

Scott Kleinheksel, Claremont McKenna College, Director of Annual Giving Barb Knauf, St. Lawrence University, Director of Annual Giving

Room 312, Tomson Hall

Each year our campuses admit not only new students, but their parents as well. We’ve found that parents can be an extraordinary resource in terms of time and treasure. Introducing new families to your institution happens quickly so it’s best to be fast on your feet. Come hear how CMC and SLU work with parents, including parent volunteers and special leadership donor groups.


  11:50 a.m.                   Director Working Lunch (Directors and Acting Directors of STAFF member schools)

David E. Johnson Boardroom, Buntrock Commons


11:50 a.m.                   Farewell Boxed Lunch

Outside Tomson 280




The Conference will begin with our Keynote Address at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, July 17. Registration will open that morning for early arrivals to campus. The Conference will end at lunchtime on Wednesday, July 19.

Please plan your travel so as to arrive in time for the Keynote, and after our morning sessions end on Wednesday so as to provide our break-out presentations the most engagement possible.



St. Olaf College is situated on top of a hill overlooking the historic river town of Northfield, MN, also home to both Malt-o-Meal cereal and fellow STAFF member Carleton College. Northfield is a 40 mile drive from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), featuring airline hubs of Delta and Sun Country. We recommend either renting a car from the airport, or using EcoTrans (www.goecotrans.com) to travel from MSP to St. Olaf.

Please use GPS address 1500 St. Olaf Avenue, Northfield, MN 55057 to make certain that Buntrock Commons is your first stop to check-in and register. See the map on the back of the attached conference booklet for recommended parking. You can also visit our interactive campus map and keep an eye out for our signs as you drive in.



For those of you staying on campus in Ytterboe Hall, please remember that sheets, a pillow, a pillowcase, a blanket, and a towel will be provided for you, but other toiletries will not. On-campus housing check-in will also be in Buntrock Commons. Hotel options are also available, with block room rates for our Conference by mentioning the STAFF Conference when booking:

• Country Inn & Suites ($80/night + tax, 507-645-2286 or www.countryinns.com/northfield-hotel-mn-55057/mnnorthf)

• AmericInn ($98/night + tax, 507-645-7761 or www.americinn.com/hotels/mn/northfield)

• Archer House (rates vary by room*, 507-645-5661 or www.archerhouse.com)

Please note that all three hotels are near campus, though reasonably require a car to travel between the hotel and St. Olaf.

            * A handful of us can attest from prior experience that the “cozy” room is, indeed, a bit cozy



Minnesota in July can mean a lot of different weather happenings: typically, daytime temps are in the 80s (or 90s), with evening temps dropping to the 60s. We also have the potential for storms happening during your time here. We suggest you bring cool, casual, and comfortable clothing. A light sweater or additional layer can be useful as all buildings on campus are air conditioned and can get cold. An umbrella never hurts!
Please also bring your college gear to wear for our reception and dinner on Monday evening, and your favorite baseball team gear for everyone attending the game Tuesday night. There will be an award provided to the cohort with the best attire—bring your best!