2022 Conference – Wednesday Sessions, December 7

All times are Pacific Time.  If you’re a member of an institution that’s already registered for the PNW Engage Conference, use this page to RSVP for the sessions you’d like to attend.  You’ll receive an email confirmation with a joining link for each session.  Do not register yourself for more than one session scheduled at the same time.  Note that video recordings will be available for several weeks after the conference for any sessions that you miss and still want to watch.

8:30-9:30 a.m.

Registration, Networking Breakfast and Exhibit Tables Open


9:30-10:15 a.m.

Opening Plenary Session:
Get Engaged: All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss…
Welcome, Introductions and Conference Highlights

John Taylor and Bob Burdenski, Conference Co-Chairs
With a welcome from Tyrell Warren-Burnett, Oregon State University.

Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Annual giving and advancement services curmudgeons and CASE Laureates Bob Burdenski and John Taylor will launch the 2022 Pacific Northwest Engage Conference with a festive holiday welcome from our sponsors and a rapid-fire rundown of favorite conference sessions and speakers to follow.


10:30-11:45 a.m.

Donor Experience Officer Programs: Lessons Learned
Tyrell Warren-Burnett and Melanie Ellis-Roach, Oregon State University Foundation
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

The Oregon State University Foundation was one of the first institutions in the country to staff and launch a Digital Engagement Officer (DXO) fundraising model for leadership annual giving “middle of the pyramid” prospects and gifts.  The program staff each have portfolios of 1,000+ prospects and use digital tools including Zoom, video and other social media — as well as more traditional channels — in their work.  What are their observations after three years into it?  Tyrell and Melanie will give their review, their reflections and their advice on how you can right-size a DXO program for your institution.  

What’s Next? Readying the Development Workplace for the New World
Chelsey Megli, University of Oregon,
JT (Jason) Thomas, Oregon State University

Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

The last five years have seen a transformation of our world and workplace. COVID has made hybrid and remote work a reality. Millennials are now the most diverse and largest contingent of our workforce, with generation Z close on their heels. Are you ready to attract, train and retain talent in these new realities? Join two talent management experts for an open dialogue on what is working and what’s not with talent management in our sector.

Digital Wallets: What We’ve Learned So Far
Dan Ettinger, GiveCampus
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Digital wallets like Venmo, PayPal, and Apple Pay have eclipsed Visa to become the most popular payment method among donors to educational institutions. Join Dan as he highlights the incredible findings from GiveCampus’ study on who’s using them, which ones are most popular, and how it’s transforming the donor experience across education institutions everywhere.


11:45-1:00 p.m.

Networking Lunch on your own.

See our list of close-by dining recommendations.


1:00-2:15 p.m.

Showing Annual Giving Donors the Love: Where Stewardship Meets Scale
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving
Zoom Signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Bob will discuss the challenges and opportunities of annual giving donor stewardship. Annual giving “appreciation” used to mean a prompt thank you letter and “see-you-next-year.” 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 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.

Tips & Trends from Record-Breaking Giving Days
Colleen Cook, Vinyl Marketing & Kristi Pease, University of Nebraska Foundation
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Giving Days are a tried and true way to engage and acquire donors, especially when it comes to young alumni. But what distinguishes the schools that are achieving record-breaking levels of donors and dollars from those that tread water year after year? In this session Kristi Pease, Senior Director, Marketing and Annual Campaign Operations and Director of Annual Campaigns at University of Nebraska Lincoln and Colleen Cook, Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing break down the strategies and tactics to make your Day of Giving a smashing success.

Gifts & Data Nuts and Bolts
John Taylor, Moderator, with Jessica Day, Mercy Corps, and
Amy Everson, OHSU, Tawny High, UC Davis
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

This panel discussion will attempt to demystify some of the more mysterious aspects of both gift and bio/demo administration. We will investigate new (and old) ways of gift automation including lockboxes and caging services, but also address the question, Why aren’t more people interested in monthly giving? We might even spend some time on the topic of backdating gifts at the end of the year – and why that’s just not the thing to do (or is it?). On the bio/demo side of things, we will discuss best practices in data collection and hygiene. We’ll also discuss how much data is too much data. Most importantly, this session seeks to answer all your gift and bio questions you can ask!


2:30-3:45 p.m.

The Great Appeal Reveal: Favorite Annual Giving Ideas From the 23rd Annual Giving Appeal and Idea Exchange
Bob Burdenski, Robert Burdenski Annual Giving
Victoria Rose Wolfe, Oregon Symphony and Other “Exchangers”

Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Awesome appeals, terrific technologies, dynamic discoveries and marvelous messages. It was a great year of pushing the envelope in direct mail, digital and beyond. Each year for 23 years, CASE Innovations in Annual Giving author Bob Burdenski has facilitated an annual giving sample and “idea” exchange, with more than 200 institutions annually participating. Watch him dump out his bag of “best of the bunch” (B.O.B) awards and see some of the clever fundraising ideas of the year.

Best Job on Campus: Why Students Belong in Annual Giving
Emily Etzkorn, VanillaSoft
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Student employees are a critical piece of education annual giving programs. In this session, Emily Etzkorn, Fundraising Evangelist with VanillaSoft, will look at the benefits of having students as part of the annual giving office – even if you don’t have an engagement center. She’ll look at the importance of recruiting, training, and coaching of students to make them an effective and integral part of the annual giving team.


4:00-5:15 p.m.

A Crowdfunding Forum
Nick Harvey, Western Washington University
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Join Nick and a group of crowdfunding aficionados for an open discussion of all things project-based fundraising! Selection criteria, “champions” job descriptions, project promotional timelines, and crowdfunding donor stewardship are some of the things they’ll touch on. Bring your questions, shortcuts, terrific tools, success stories, educational failures and lessons learned.

Direct Mail: Tips, Tricks and Tactics
Sara Pond and Matt Sulzer, MCR, Inc.
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Is it time to spice up your approach? Direct mail is fundamental to building the donor pipeline, but with new channels in the mix it may be time to revisit your mail strategy. Join this conversation to discuss printing hallmarks that target the right people, grab donor attention, calendar the project, and integrate storytelling to optimize results. Attendees will receive free samples from other institutions and gain insights on:
◾ Audiences – segmenting, engagement, personalization;
◾ Calendaring – channel integration, production, timing;
◾ Design – photos, layout, color;
◾ Packaging – envelopes, paper stocks, inserts;

The New (& Improved?) CASE Standards & Alumni Engagement Metrics
John Taylor
Zoom signup. (Zoom conference registration required.)

Last year, CASE released the latest edition of its renowned counting guidelines. Our session will first introduce you to CASE and the evolution and purpose of its Standards. We will explore the many changes that clear up (or create!) confusion from past versions, including counting bequest expectancies and sponsored research. We will explore new topics, new pillar definitions, and the new emphasis on donor control and influence. The session will conclude with a discussion regarding CASE’s departure from tracking alumni participation – while US News still has a focus on that – and a review of the new CASE acronym, AEM (Alumni Engagement Metrics).


6:30-7:30 p.m.

Holiday PNW Engage Reception and (Optional) Concert at the Southpark Seafood & Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

We’re celebrating the season and you’re the guest of honor! Join us for some complimentary holiday sips and nibbles at Southpark Seafood a short walk from the conference center. And after the reception, continue on next door for Oregon Symphony’s “Comfort and Joy” holiday concert at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. The PNW Engage Conference has a special block of $25 discounted tickets for attendees. (Reception is open to all attendees at no charge and the concert is optional, but there is a separate ticket required for the concert at 7:30 p.m.– purchase your concert ticket on the conference registration page). You can find the latest details about the concert program on the Oregon Symphony site here.