2020 Session Descriptions

Opening and Conference Welcome
Conference Committee and UNCA Vice Chancellor for Advancement Kirk Swenson

Your CAGC committee will offer its virtual thanks to all of this year’s speakers, sponsors and attendees.  Then, enjoy a welcome to Asheville (sort of) from new UNCA Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Kirk Swenson. 

Keynote Session:
The Best of the Bunch (BOB):
Favorite New Annual Giving Ideas and Strategies From the Past Year (and the Past 6 Months!)

Bob Burdenski

Awe-inspiring appeals, terrific technologies, dynamic discoveries and  meaningful messages – and that’s just since COVID-19 arrived.   It was a whole year of pushing the envelope in direct mail, digital and beyond.   CASE Innovations in Annual Giving author Bob Burdenski dumps out his bag of BOB awards for some of the clever fundraising ideas of a challenging past year.

Afternoon Keynote Session:

Donor Retention isn’t Speed Dating
Lynne Wester, Donor Relations Guru

The concept behind speed dating is to meet as many people as possible as quickly as possible—and 99% of them you’ll never see again. Actually, that’s not too far off from the statistic that 80% of donors never make a second gift. What can you do to develop a successful donor retention program, what works and what doesn’t, and how can you improve your retention rate? Learn how to form a lasting relationship with your donors.

Opening Reception
Never Have I Ever – Annual Giving Edition 👍

Stick around after Lynne Wester’s afternoon keynote session for some virtual mingling with conference attendees.  We’re going to see who has the best annual giving stories – good and bad – while we get to know fellow annual giving aficionados.  It’s a Carolina couch party.  

Annual Giving Program Planning For a New Year, a New Budget, and a New World:  A Forum Discussion
Jaclyn Day, UNC School of Arts, Shannon Dale, UNCA, Gloria Goosby, Furman University, Jenny Alstad, College of Charleston, and Bob Burdenski

Join us for a guided discussion about how annual giving programs are handling quickly-changing circumstances about their staffing, budget, on-campus activities, prospect audiences and more.   The key word is “contingency” as we discuss how to handle a fundraising world with many changed – and changing – assumptions.  

Annual Giving: Where do I go from here?
Laurie Soenen, Moderator, with Reshunda Mahone, Emory University Goizueta Business School, Kirk Swenson, UNCA, and Other Panelists TBA

Looking to advance your advancement career? Hear from a panel of professionals who have grown up in the industry and have taken a number of different paths to get where they are. Bring all of your questions as this will be an open discussion.  

An Australian Annual Giving Show and Tell
Lara Pickering, Educate Plus, Queensland, Australia Chapter
Pre-Recorded Video On Demand

Join your annual giving friends from Down Under!  This Zoom meeting was recorded just a few weeks ago in Queensland, Australia by Educate Plus, and they’re generously sharing it with CAGC attendees.   We’ve added a special introduction to the recording, and some of their members may be joining us live for conference sessions.  Watch for them, and G’Day to our friends joining us from the Southern Hemisphere!

The Case For Annual Giving – A Forum
Moderated by Cameron Hall, Texas Tech System

In this discussion, we will discuss defining, defining, evaluating, and strengthening annual giving during a time when more organizations are placing greater emphasis on annual giving fundraising.

Your Case For Support in a Crisis: A Forum Discussion
Jonathan Brooks, Western Carolina University,  Moderator

In the past six months, there have been fundraising appeals for student emergency funds, campus COVID-19 research, minority scholarships and more.  All good causes, but are they equal?  How long do you promote them as a case for support?   What if your institution’s connection to a crisis solution is a little bit thin?  And meanwhile, your institution’s need for unrestricted funds likely just went up.   What do we do about donors we redirected to special projects and causes, and what’s our “retention journey” for those who responded?  Join us for an open discussion about our many cases for support in a time of crisis (crises).

DIY Social Media Ambassador Program
Shannon Dale, UNC Asheville

In an era of increased online alumni engagement, learn how to leverage these relationships to promote your University communications and fundraising efforts through a “homegrown” social media ambassador program utilizing tools you already have in your toolbox.

Engagement and Philanthropy: Trends, Measurement, Good Practice
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.

Excel Shortcuts for Annual Giving Programs
Jaclyn Day, UNC School of the Arts

Pivot Tables. V-lookup. Conditional Formatting. Excel has many features that can make our jobs in Annual Giving easier, but most of us haven’t had the chance to learn how to incorporate these handy functions into our data analysis. In this session, you’ll learn several Excel techniques that will make data manipulation a breeze!

Executing a Successful Employee/Retiree Annual Giving Campaign
Tracy Coleman, University of South Alabama

Tracy will talk about the ingredients for success, including the benefits of an employee/retiree annual giving campaign, the planning process, database management, kick-off events, day of kick-off, communications during campaign, the campaign wrap-up event, donor stewardship and acknowledgement letters, and reporting to university leaders (deans, administrators, etc.).

The Game of Donor LIFE
Christina Nichols, MCR

The donor journey can feel like the game of LIFE with unexpected highs and lows. In this interactive session, we’ll work through the “life” of our donors and present direct mail and related solutions to opportunities that impact the donor experience. Attendees will receive an “instruction manual” for the Game of (Donor) LIFE.

Holding Successful Giving Days in Times of Crisis
Erica Burroughs, High Point University

The challenge of planning, marketing and executing successful institutional giving days can be overwhelming for an annual giving staff, even in the best of times. During the first weeks of COVID-19, the High Point University team was tasked with reimagining each of their giving day strategies for a rescheduled date and only 3 weeks to make it happen! Learn from Erica N. Burroughs, Senior Director of Family Engagement and Annual Giving, how your team, no matter how lean, can pivot, realign your messaging and launch a successful giving day through crowd funding and text messaging platforms.

Leadership Annual Giving in a Digital World-
Jenny Alstad, College of Charleston and Colin Cumming, Georgia Tech University 

Learn about the College of Charleston and Georgia Tech’s leadership annual giving programs, including its strategies for prospect identification, engagement, solicitation and stewardship.  With face to face interactions on hold and travel budgets being slashed, leadership annual giving programs are looking for new ways to adapt to the current climate. Jenny and Colin will lead a discussion on successfully executing a leadership annual giving program in a digital format. From prospecting and qualification to closing the gift, we’ll talk about what is working for us, what we have learned, and the tools necessary to keep the pipeline full.

A Phonathon Forum: Student Philanthropy Team Covid-19 Edition!
Rachel Spencer, Vanilla Soft and Jonathan Brooks, WCU

Squeezing more productivity out of your phonathon program is a very hot topic, and we’ll look at the quickly-growing job description for the students in your calling room. Bring your best tips and your biggest frustrations to this open discussion about what’s working in the phone room. Get some new strategies for improving your contact rates, pledge rates, credit card rates, recurring gifts, pledge fulfillment and more.

Reengaging Black Alumni: 
A Case Study on Re-Rngagement Through Affinity Groups)
Gloria Goosby, Furman University

Learn how alumni engagement and annual giving strategies were used to reengage Black alumni by hearing and recognizing their stories through the creation of a committee, an endowed scholarship, the placement of a historic marker on campus, and the “In Our Own Words” book project.

Stewardship That Moves You: Using Video To Nail Acknowledgements
JD Beebe, ThankView

Session description to follow.

The Swag Shopping Network Presents Great New Donor Items
Brian Williams, AB Unlimited

Remember the table in the exhibit hall that’s chock full of all the great donor stewardship and other must-have advancement items?  Brian Williams provided the swag box of CAGC items that each institution received, and has moved his display table into a Zoom meeting presentation of the latest new must-items.  It’s the Carolinas Conference Meets the Home Shopping Network!   Come and see if this works, and learn about great new items for your program.

Transforming Telephone Campaign ROI
Rachel Spencer, VanillaSoft

Many organizations face a significant challenge of yielding a healthy ROI in the very particular context of telephone fundraising campaigns. With this ‘key performance indicator’ (KPI) increasingly being used to benchmark the success and effectiveness of a given campaign, what steps can campaign managers take to drive this all-important figure upwards? During the course of the session, we will look at: reducing spend; increasing income; boosting contact and conversion rates; diversification of approach; software; and much more. Session attendees will be invited to think creatively and innovatively about their calling efforts, and will leave with a clear plan of action in order to maximise their campaign ROI.

What is the Donor Experience Like with your Online Site?
Lynne Wester, Donor Relations Guru

You probably spend most of your time thinking about developing compelling campaigns on and offline, finding new ways to engage supporters, and maintaining relationship with donors. The design and content of your online giving site is probably the last on your list. Yet, studies have shown that a well-optimized donation page can help you convert visitors into donors. Join me as we examine the Live Online Giving Challenge! Bring your URL and a sense of humor as we attempt to make gifts together to see what the “donor experience” is really like!

What’s your Legacy?
Brittany Neely, Winthrop University

What is a Legacy student and why are they an important piece of your student population?  In this session you will learn some best practices for creating a Legacy Program for your school.  From defining what a Legacy student is for your school to collaborating with campus departments, you will hear some tips and tricks as you build or grow your schools Legacy Program.  Things may look different as we lean towards virtual engagement of alumni, donors and students.  Your Legacy Program can still be a great virtual program with some tweaks and creative thinking.  Legacy students choose your school for a reason, to continue the tradition in their family.