2020 Conference Sessions

Here are the great sessions from last year’s inaugural PNW Engage Conference. We’re finalizing this year’s program now. Detailed session descriptions will be added as they are received. We’re going to have forty sessions – so check back! Also, the session schedule and individual session signup will be added in the coming days.

Opening Plenary Session:
Be Mindful:  All The Sessions You Don’t Want To Miss…
Welcome, Introductions and Conference Highlights
Margaret Neitzel, Bob Burdenski and John Taylor, Conference Tri-Chairs
with a special welcome from Seattle University Vice President for Advancement Michael Podlin

Conference Host and Co-Chair Margaret Neitzel from Seattle University will join CASE Laureates, Crystal Apple teachers, authors, listserv moderators, and general fundraising curmudgeons Bob Burdenski and John Taylor to launch the 2020 Pacific Northwest Engage Conference with a festive welcome and a rapid-fire rundown of their favorite advancement services and annual giving conference sessions and speakers to follow. Often in sync, lovingly in conflict,  and always working in support of philanthropic goals, annual giving and advancement services offices play a critical role in advancement success.  Join Bob and John as they provide a preview of the great conference sessions to come.

Closing Plenary Session:
Politics and Pandemics: Where We Go From Here?
Bob Burdenski, John Taylor, Jonathan Brown, Lo DeJanvry and others TBA

This year’s conference – and a whole lot more – has been turned upside down by COVID-19. As our now-online conference ends, where does fundraising go from here?  The pandemic has impacted one’s health, family, job, investments, feelings of security and expectations about the future.   It’s a whole new fundraising world — at least for now.  What does it mean for your fundraising, your institution, your job, and more?  A closing session with some thoughts and ideas for the months ahead.

Advancement Leaders Speak: Results from RNL’s Recent Poll of Fundraisers
Chris Bingley and Meg Weber, RNL

Through a series of pulse surveys over the past six months, Ruffalo Noel Levitz has gathered feedback and insights from more than 5,000 advancement professionals. Join us for this release of results from our most recent poll of fundraisers. Learn more about what your peers say are the most challenging, successful, and creative ways to innovate in times of tight resources, while we all go beyond ‘business as usual.’

Advancement Services: A Campaign Director’s Best Friend
Lisa Thomas, University of Washington
Watch a preview of this session!

At every stage of a campaign – from planning to execution to analysis – each advancement services unit plays a key role, shaping campaign success. Learn how campaign leaders look to partner with advancement services at each stage of the campaign and what you can bring to the table to drive the greatest impact for your organization.

Alumni Engagement: Where To From Here?
Andrea Sanders , Seattle Country Day School and Brisen Brady, The Overlake School

Interested in growing and enhancing alumni engagement? Learn about innovative ways to strengthen alumni relations, both before the pandemic and now during these unprecedented times. Director of Advancement at Seattle Country Day School, Andrea Sanders, and Director of Development at The Overlake School, Brisen Brady, will cover everything from their trials and tribulations this spring as they pivoted to virtual alum programs, to their experiences and plans for rethinking communications, events, social media strategies and surveys, partnerships with one’s alumni council/board, and new opportunities the future may hold. With time for dialogue, interactive discussions, and Q&A, it’s guaranteed to be an engaging, informative, and inspiring session, with key takeaways for your educational institution.

The Appeal Roadmap
Christina Nichols, MCR
Watch a preview of this session!

Your appeals shouldn’t feel like “2020” – Follow the appeal roadmap in this session to make your journey to raising dollars and attracting donors free of unexpected roadblocks.

Building Donor Engagement: Implementing Your Calling Program Remotely
Alexandra Heard, Wilson-Bennett Technology

Encourage donor engagement while practicing social distancing. SOAR (Student Outreach to Alumni Remotely) enables your student callers to be managed remotely. Join our session to find out more about strategic off-site management practices.

Creating the Omni-Channel Experience
Ross Imbler and Hannah Penfield, Oregon Humane Society
Watch a preview of this session!

The world is increasingly noisy and full of competing messages. It isn’t enough anymore to send just a direct mail appeal. How do you make sure your fundraising is getting through to your donors? Learn how to construct an omnichannel appeal to make sure donors see your message and remember to give.

A Digital Fundraising Forum
Margaret Neitzel, Seattle University and Bob Burdenski

Bring your digital fundraising questions and topics to this catch-all session all about crowdfunding, alternative payments, texting, QR codes, giving days, social media, email fundraising, predictions for the future and more.

A Digital Transformation in Advancement Services
Maureen Procopio, University of Oregon, Moderator with Ellen Whitlock Baker, UW Alumni Association, Rick Ericson, Holt International Children’s Services, Eric Howell, University of Colorado, Nohe Ka, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Mark Koenig, Oregon State University Foundation
Watch a preview of this session!

Digital transformation in advancement organizations does not occur on a continuum. Rather it happens at various places in a matrix of teams and expertise. This panel of diverse experiences aims to highlight that no matter where an organization is in their vision for a digital transformation, there are many starting points and great rewards for those who jump on board. Moderated by Maureen Procopio, the panelists hale from various non-profits in the fields of advancement technology and innovation, gift services, alumni engagement, and marketing and development. Together, these leaders will share experiences, success and challenges encompassing:
• CRM and the organizational impact (services, systems, culture),
• Workflow and communication, and
• The shift to digital donor engagement

A Donor Wants to Give us What? Accepting, or Not, the Weird or Bizarre
John Taylor
Watch a preview of this session!

Increasingly donors are attempting to donate unique, and not always desired, forms of non-cash gifts. This session will focus on the establishment of protocol and policy to facilitate acceptance – or rejection – of these gifts. We will look at gifts of securities, as well as the IRS concern regarding related versus unrelated gifts of property. We will conclude with a lightning round covering a dozen or so other forms of non-standard gifts – including virtual currency.

Enduring Years of Personnel Crises and Loss
and Emerging as a Stronger Fundraising Machine
Scott Fendley, Central Washington University

Advancement professionals like to think we are invincible. But we cannot escape the real world. We often travel through rough water, too. When that water builds to a Tsunami over time, organizations are not always equipped with necessary damage control and recovery mechanisms. Many professionals will give up and look for calmer waters. With strong and focused leadership, it doesn’t have to be that way. This session hopes better to prepare us for the inevitable personnel and management crisis. We will review real-life scenarios, including a five-plus year storm that hung over one institution, that turn Advancement programs upside down. But we will demonstrate how through it all, we can not only maintain a high performing operation but come through it all setting new fundraising records!

Engagement and Philanthropy: Trends, Measurement, Good Practice
Ann Kaplan and Jenny Cooke Smith, CASE

What do we know about giving to education institutions in times of economic contraction? Since engagement precedes philanthropy, how do we measure alumni engagement? What do experienced practitioners have to say about navigating financial uncertainty and adapting virtual programming and engagement opportunities during the pandemic? Ann and Jenny will summarize historical giving trends and introduce CASE’s new alumni engagement metrics study, along with global results from CASE members as they shifted all events and volunteer engagement to digital. They will also present excerpts from Interviews with practitioners at member institutions to glean insight into principles of good practice.

An Information Asset Dashboard
Brian Dowling, VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation

The “back room” is a complicated place. We must deal with all manner of complicated data, volume activities, multiple systems, reports, projects, ad-hoc requests and much more. The aggregate amount of our work is often little understood by our end user community. We need to champion our need for resources, we need to actively demonstrate our successes, we need to educate our stakeholders. Do you have an effective way of providing your key “back room” metrics to your end user community in order to work the “front room?”
This session will focus on the ideas on developing an “Information Asset Dashboard” to help you both manage the “back room” and inform your stakeholders of your team’s efforts. We will talk overall strategy, we will engage the evil gods of live demos to show some of information asset dashboard in action, and we will have practical examples of using this information for your budget and resource allocation exercises. This will be very interactive and allow us to have some great interaction and conversion, so come with your ideas, questions, concerns, and expertise, and don’t be at all shy about sharing!

An Independent School Fundraising Forum
Laura Rose, Charles Wright Academy

Join Laura for an independent-school and smaller-institution-focused discussion on fundraising topics, including:
— Community engagement during the pandemic;
— Conversations with community members during election season;
— Fundraising events for spring;
— Parent relations and soliciting our constituent audiences;
… and any or all other questions and topics welcome, too. And if you’re not from an independent school but want to hear what they’re up to, you’re welcome, too!

Integrating Alumni Engagement & Annual Giving:
An “Invite, Involve, Invest” Model
Margaret Neitzel and Jonathan Brown, Seattle University

In early 2019, Seattle University Advancement strategically merged its Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving teams. This change allowed Annual Giving staff, who were formerly the “odd men out” among Major Gift officers, to partner with colleagues similarly focused on broad-based communications and engagement. It also de-siloed Alumni Engagement, the department’s only team not focused on fundraising or direct fundraising support. The integration has increased the amount of philanthropy education baked into Alumni Engagement communications, drastically improved Annual Giving’s approach to the fundraising cycle, given both Annual Giving and Major Gifts officers more opportunities to connect with and plug-in constituents, and led to an overall improvement in understanding and respect between teams focused on different aspects of the donor pipeline. Join us as we share some of the struggles, successes, and lessons learned from this integration, including the development of our “Invite, Involve, Invest” model.

Implementing a Data Governance Program
Jon Thorsen and Bill Jacko, Washington State University

Managing data is one of the most complex and most essential roles Advancement Services professionals fulfill. Determining the essential data elements, we will measure and report, who sets the rules, how changes are managed, and how all data users are represented requires a carefully structured approach. A Data Governance program extends beyond data management to our core business processes. In this session, we will discuss ways to implement a program and the benefits that result.

Lead-Generation in Digital Marketing: What Is It? And Why You Need It!
Brittany N. Shaff, bCRE, University of Miami
Watch a preview of this session!

Today, more than ever, higher education professionals need to rely on digital tools to target individuals and convert them from inactive or passive constituents to active and engaged supporters. This session will highlight how to use search engine and social media marketing, as well as digital listening tools to identify individuals who want to be engaged with your brand. This session will also highlight, once identified, methods on how to convert and measure when individuals transition from passive constituents to active engagers and philanthropic supporters.

Level Up on Giving Tuesday – and Every Day – with P2P Texting
Rachel Cleary, GiveThru
Watch a preview of this session!

Have you started planning for Giving Tuesday yet? It’s never too early, and it’s never a bad idea to try something new to make sure your message gets seen. In a year like no other, it’s extra important to make sure to meet your alumni and donors where they are: on their phones. And with P2P texting, you can do so while having authentic, meaningful conversations. Join Rachel Cleary from GetThru for a chat about P2P texting: what it is, how it works, and how to create a texting plan. We’ll cover strategy and messaging around Giving Tuesday, but we’ll touch on how you can make texting part of your outreach plan year-round.

Making the Case for Using the Right Data
Tessa Burke, Anthology

Today, creating personalized touchpoints for alumni and donors is critical to building their engagement. And while advancement services have the data that teams need to be able to build engagement effectively, this often goes awry. In this session, we’ll talk about ways you can advise teams as to what data they can and should use for engagement, ways that the rest of the division can help update data, and capturing the right data to inform strategies.

Measuring & Developing Operations Staff
Caroline Oblack, OHSU Foundation

Advancement Services professionals are responsible for multiple facets of a successful Advancement operation, including the development and analysis of performance metrics for major gift officers. Ironically, the design and application of metrics for support services often lag behind. The leaders in this panel will share how they have built guidelines, metrics, and processes that keep their organizations performing at a high level by committing to professional development and performance management plans for their entire teams.

More Favorites From the 2020 Annual Giving Idea Exchange
Bob Burdenski
Watch a preview of this session!

For 21 years, Bob Burdenski has hosted an annual exchange where hundreds of institutions share thousands of annual giving innovations, ideas and success stories. Awesome appeals, terrific technologies, dynamic discoveries and marvelous messages. It was a great year of pushing the envelope in direct mail, digital and beyond. Come and see CASE Innovations in Annual Giving author Bob Burdenski dump out his bag of BOB (Best of the Bunch) awards for some of the clever fundraising ideas of the year – both pre-virus and post-virus. If you’ve enjoyed Bob’s batches at other conferences this year, here’s a new and final collection of ideas from a whole range of institutions.

Morning ZoomTables ☕ – Bring Your Questions and Answers
Moderators and… You!

Join us first-thing on Thursday and Friday mornings for some open chat about annual giving, advancement services and engage ment topics.  It’s make-your-own breakfast roundtables! 
Thursday Topics:
1) Digital Engagement Officer Tips
2) Supporting Work-Life Balance in a Virtual World
Watch a preview of this roundtable!
3) Annual Giving at Other Not-For-Profits
Friday Topics: 
1) 
Parent Giving in a Pandemic
2) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Advancement
3) Virtual Engagement Events

Prospect Pipeline:
Leveraging LinkedIn, Predictive Models & Engagement Ecosystems
Laurent “Lo” DeJanvry, University of California at Berkeley

Developing a healthy pipeline of new donor prospects is an essential component of your institution’s fundraising success in your current and next campaign. Come to this session to hear how to identify new prospects leveraging LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Predictive Modeling, how to initiate contact and qualify new potential prospects at scale, and how to create meaningful engagement opportunities for leadership and major gift prospects leveraging Zoom. Don’t rely on luck and chance to make your fundraising campaign a success — start investing in developing your prospect pipeline today!

Responding to the COVID-19 Crisis in Annual Giving:
An Integrated Approach and Key Takeaways

Brin O’Hare, Royal Columbian Hospital

As fundraisers, the global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our work in countless ways. In many cases, we have had to creatively re-strategize in order to meet current needs. This session will examine how Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation’s Annual Giving (AG) team quickly adjusted our direct response strategy to support our hospital’s pressing COVID-19 response needs, taking inspiration from multi-channel marketing approaches used in the commercial sector. I will discuss how close collaboration between AG and communications teams and the greater integration of mail and digital tools improved efficiencies and resulted in a significant increase in online giving and donor acquisition. While this session will focus on direct response strategy within the content of hospital philanthropy, key takeaways will be applicable to all types of philanthropy.

Setting Student Fundraisers up for Success
Rachel Spencer, Vanilla Soft

Your student fundraising team carries the lion’s share of the responsibility when it comes to converting and engaging your alumni and donors. It is largely up to them to deliver a positive experience for potential donors and, ultimately, inspire them to make a financial contribution. Despite this, oftentimes insufficient investment is made in recruiting and developing the best team for the task. This session will look at topics such as; student recruitment, training, development, motivation, incentives, retention and team-building. Your students are taking on what is arguably the toughest job in the development team and placing themselves on the very front line of your institution’s fundraising efforts. With this in mind, this entirely student-focussed session will ensure that you and your team are set up for maximum success.

Student Today, Alumni Tomorrow: Building and Sustaining a Culture of Philanthropy to Inspire Alumni Participation
Ali Bessee, Seattle University and Priscilla McGraw, University of Washington

What motivates alumni to give back to their alma mater? Research suggests that just one factor to inspiring alumni participation is connected to an established culture of student philanthropy. From advancement-sponsored student philanthropy clubs and organizations to class giving campaigns to young alumni cultivation strategies, we’ll explore how a culture of philanthropy and giving back in alumni starts with students first.

There’s No “I” in Team: Building Strategic Partnerships in Advancement
Correan Barker & Abby Kelso, The Evergreen State College

Events bring new meaning to the word collaboration. Current remote work can further perpetuate existing organizational silos at an institution and create barriers for more meaningful, effective, and efficient events. Join us for an in-depth look at how effective partnerships led to success for our signature alumni event, Return to Evergreen. You’ll leave with techniques for building strategic relationships with colleagues across advancement and your institution that can foster ingenuity in your current environment and beyond, enhance efficiency of operations, and provide tools to position yourself as a leader in your organization.

What’s Working Elsewhere?
Fundraising Success Stories From Outside Education
Jessica Budzianowski, Girl Scouts
Meagan Bataran, Oregon Symphony

Join a panel of non-profit development professionals to hear about new ideas, successes challenges and strategies from around the non-education non-profit fundraising world. Hear how they’re succeeding with recurring gifts, social media, leadership gifts, symphony societies, volunteers and more.

Bonus Sessions

We value and love our sponsors, especially this year!   We’ve added some Zoom sessions that feature their products and services. 

Vanilla Soft Product Demonstration
Rachel Spencer, Vanilla Soft
Wednesday, November 11 at 9 a.m.

Get Thru Product Demonstration 
Rachel Cleary, GetThru
Monday, November 9 at 10 a.m.

Interested in peer-to-peer texting for annual giving but not sure where to start? Join GetThru for a demo of ThruText. They’ll cover the basics of P2P texting, how to set up and manage texting campaigns, and share details on key ThruText features. As a bonus, you’ll take away texting best practices to help you think through how you might implement texting as part of your annual giving program.

Give Campus Product Demonstration
Date/Time TBA

RNL Product Demonstration:
Advancing Engagement: Next-Generation Solutions from RNL
Shad Hanselman and Eric Billings, RNL
Tuesday, November 10 at 2 p.m. ET

The world of advancement is evolving and the team at RNL has taken a hard look at the trends, technology, and tactics emerging in order to develop solutions designed to better connect your institution with the right donors, at the right time, and through the right mix of channels. Join RNL advancement strategy expert, Shad Hanselman, and RNL digital engagement expert, Eric Billings, for an enlightening session of what’s new and next in engagement solutions from RNL.

MCR Product Demonstration
Date/Time TBA

Wilson-Bennet Technology Product Demonstration
Date/Time TBA