Breakout Sessions

Topic Talks, Wednesday, July 24, 10:30 - 11:30 AM



  • Engaging High Net Worth Individuals
    Whether it’s one-on-one or through events, we want to hear how you’re engaging high net worth individuals in your communities. Have you seen a shift in how HNW donors want to be communicated with, entertained, stewarded? This group will chat about best practices and breaking the mold!
  • Peer-to-Peer Fundraising
    Walks! Runs! DIY! Oh my! Many non-profits have a peer-to-peer component to your fundraising and we want to hear about it. This group will chat about ways to increase fundraising, creative ideas for DIY events, how to utilize social media in a saturated market, and more! We know it works, but how do we make the most of our efforts?
  • Young Professional Groups
    How is your non-profit shaping the next generation of philanthropy. Whether you have an established YP group or are looking to start one, this group will be open to discussion on engaging this critical group of passionate volunteers and harnessing their energy for good! We will discuss structure, expectations, motivational ideas, etc!
  • Running a Small Shop
    Whether you’re a one-man-show or an office of 5, a small development shop presents a wide variety of challenges, while also helping you hone your “jack of all trades” skills! Come share your experiences and ideas for maximizing your efforts with a minimal staff.
  • Impact Investing
    Gone are the days of passive philanthropy. Donors, especially major donors, want to know that their “investment” in the organization is making an impact. So, how to do you address this need. How are you reporting on impact? How are you communicating the need? Are you seeing more restricted gifts coming through? This group will chat about being donor-centric and addressing philanthropy from an “investment” standpoint.


Workshop Session I, Wednesday, July 24, 12:30 - 2:00 PM





  • Innovative Philanthropy: New Approaches to Campaign, Allan Burrows, President, Capital Development Services, Kevin Jacques, Senior Counsel, Capital Development Services, and Katie Moore, CFRE, Major Gifts & Campaign Director, UMFS
    • Giving to nonprofits isn’t as simple as making a charitable gift anymore. Donors have a head-swimming array of giving options to select in determining how (and if) they will give to your campaign. Organizations must be thoughtful and innovative in making new vehicles for giving available utilizing underperforming assets to encourage philanthropy, and for incorporating them into major campaigns to entice, engage and energize supporters. Educate yourself on some of these new giving options, using the case study of a current campaign in Richmond for UMFS, and the expertise of the philanthropy consulting team of CapDev.
  • Leveraging Major Data into Major Gifts, Keith Curtis, President, The Curtis Group, Erin Hogan, Managing Director, Philanthropic Market Executive, US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management
    • This session will unpack current industry data, focusing on two of the most influential studies in major gift fundraising: 2019 Giving USA and 2018 U.S. Trust Study of High Net Worth Philanthropy. This session will feature an interactive discussion focusing on the state of philanthropic giving today, trends and innovations that are reshaping the philanthropic sector and how donors and their nonprofit partners can embrace this new era of philanthropy.
  • Boards that Work: Fact, Fiction and Making It Work for Your Organization, Karen LaForge, Executive Director, The Read Center, and Amy Nisenson, Consultant, Amy Nisenson & Associates, LLC
    • This workshop will talk about the importance of board member engagement and how it leads to a more effective and successful organization. The workshop will cover best practices involved in keeping your board members engaged, including recruitment techniques, effective meetings, committee structures, and creating a board engagement strategy. In addition to best practices, participants will have the opportunity to hear from an organization that has made a major shift in how they engage board members and why this is working.
  • Fundraising is Everybody’s Job: Creating a Culture of Philanthropy, Karin Cox, Co-Founder, Senior Executive VP and Chief Creative Officer, Hartsook
    • Nonprofits will benefit from having a culture of philanthropy where everyone—not just the development team—is engaged in fundraising in some capacity. Whether answering the phone or answering to stakeholders, from the board chair to the person arranging the chairs for an upcoming event—everyone involved needs to be given an opportunity to advance the mission, articulate the vision and understand how these things come to pass: through generous donor philanthropy. Creating a culture of philanthropy means involving more individuals in raising the nonprofit’s visibility, attracting new prospects, deepening donor relationships, engaging board members and turning everyone—staff and volunteers, supporters and the public—into pro-active advocates for the mission.
  • Peer to Peer Fundraising: Why? Why Not? How, Beth Saladino, Decelopment Director, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Katrina VanHuss, CEO, Turnkey
    • Learn why an organization might start a peer to peer fundraising endeavor and why that organization may decide peer to peer is not right for it. We’ll also discuss exactly how to run an effective peer to peer fundraising campaign, including project management of such.



Workshop Session II, Wednesday, July 24, 2:20 3:20 PM


  • How to Stay Out of the Headlines, Nonprofit Ethics & Accountability for the Real World, Stephanie Cory, Principal, Philanthropy & Governance Consulting
    • This session will provide an overview of ethics and accountability for today’s nonprofit. Common ethical issues will be explored and real-life case studies of ethical dilemmas will be discussed. Participants will learn the nine traits of an accountable organization and how to apply appropriate guiding principles from the Standards for Excellence to increase their organization’s accountability. At the conclusion of this session, participants will be able to: recognize and understand how to prevent common nonprofit ethical issues, apply the AFP Code of Ethical Conduct to resolve ethical dilemmas, and employ practices from the Standards for Excellence to increase organizational accountability.
  • Quick and Dirty- Easy Ways to Use Data to Drive Fundraising Strategy, Jessica Cocciolone, Director of Development, Elk Hill, and Marcos Martinez, Performance Improvement Coordinator, Elk Hill
    • Does data feel overwhelming to you or maybe you are unsure where to begin with data? Now more than ever, nonprofit organizations need their development strategies to be well structured, creative and data-driven. In this 60-minute session we are going to make data simple and quick! Participates will learn about different Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that can provide them an overview of a healthy development department, what questions to ask to ensure you are using the right indicators to help meet your goals, and some strategies for what to do next with the data once you have it.
  • Wealth Screening, We’re All Doing It – But, For How Much Longer? Data Protection, Donor Privacy. Fundraising Intelligence…Buckle Up, There’s Going to be Turbulence, Ted Sudol, Managing Director and Head of the MidAtlantic Region, Carter Global
    • “Oh, my…Seriously? You’re really going to be talking about laws, rules, regulations, court cases? At a fundraising conference?” Yeah, okay, so you’re immediately thinking, “Can this really be the session I don’t want to miss at this year’s VFRI?” The answer: YES! This is the one not to miss. We’ll bring a European and California perspective to Virginia because there’s winds of change heading in our direction from both sides. These changes will impact our work in philanthropy and fundraising. This session zeroes in the use of wealth screening as a way to gather the detailed intelligence we use in building donor profiles, designing ask strategies, and considering campaign goals. The European Union’s new GDPR – General Data Protection Regulations – are changing the way global charities gather, store, and use donor data. Leaders in California are calling for an American-style GDPR to become the law of the land. None of this sounds like something that will make our work easier. You ask, “What does all this mean for the future of Wealth Screening?” Ah, that’s why this session is the one you really don’t want to miss. This talk is presented by long-time fundraiser and lawyer Ted Sudol. With four decades of experience in the law of philanthropy, he will share insights, strategies, tactics, and tips that address the challenge squarely. Whatever your role and responsibilities, you’ll leave this session with a solid understanding of the issues – and, some creative ways to think about the future of wealth screening and donor privacy rights.
  • Using the Phone to Qualify Leads and Get Appointments, Tim Logan. FAHP, ACFRE, Associate Vice President of Strategy, Barton Cotton
    • We all have a phone on our desk—or in our pocket. The phone is a very powerful fundraising tool. But the phone is intrusive, so we have to be careful and respectful when we make donor calls.In this session you will learn the best way to use the phone to qualify leads and get appointments, including: 5 Tips to making calls; 7 Ways to have better, more productive conversations; The best ways to handle donor objections; and, you will develop your own personal script to help you obtain donor appointments. Whether you are new to fundraising or you are a seasoned pro, his session will help you hone your skills and develop personal techniques for successfully talking with your donors on the phone.
  • Grants Stewarship, Details to be announced.




Workshop Session III, Wednesday, July 24, 3:40 - 5:10 PM


  • 360 Degree Campaign Planning: An In-Depth Look at Preparing for a Major Fundraising Initiative, Elise Krikau, Senior Consultant, Campbell & Company, and Connie McKenzie, Senior Associate VP of Development and Alumni Relations,  EVMS
    • Preparing for a campaign is a rigorous, multifaceted process. Where should you direct your focus ahead of a major fundraising initiative, and what does it truly take to be campaign ready? Eastern Virginia Medical School has been confronting these tricky questions as it ramps up for an upcoming campaign. From re-balancing portfolios, focusing on staffing and systems, and strengthening planned and major giving to building a versatile case for support and assigning staff to partner with board members, the EVMS case study presents a powerful example of campaign readiness. Walk through the step-by-step process EVMS has followed—and discuss how attendees can apply it to their own campaign plans.
  • Show Me the Money: Learn the Who, What, Why, When and How of Asking for a Gift, Sophie Penney, President i5Fundraising and Senior Program Coordinator, Penn State University
    • Fundraisers can’t just call a prospective donor and yell, “Show me the money!” Join in this interactive, information packed session in which you will actively engage in learning about (1) why asking matters, (2) steps in the process of preparing for, making and following up on a request, and (3) asking styles (everyone has one).
  • The Great Nonprofit Executive Director: How the Best of the Best Lead with Fundraising a Priority, Jane Stein, President, JPS Consulting
    • This session is designed to give Development Directors, CEOs and Executive Directors (even if they are all the same person) a hands-on guide to what it takes to lead with fundraising their top priority. Participants will not only share a lot of laughter, they will come out knowing they can survive as an extraordinary leader in a nonprofit organization.
  • Tax Implications for Fundraising Executives: From the Basics to Recent Developments, David M. Sams, Esq., Executive Director and Staff Attorney, The Community Tax Law Project
    • The main goal of this workshop, geared towards beginning and intermediate development professionals,  is to provide basic tax literacy with which every fundraising executive should be familiar. Topics to be discussed include: overview of “501(c)(3)” not for profit status, types of donations, reporting obligations with the IRS, tax advantages for donors, planned giving options, and recent changes due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Attendees will leave the workshop with a better understanding of the tax implications related to the development industry.
  • Diversity + Inclusion: Moving Beyond Optics – Capturing Stories with Respect, Sarah Milston, CEO/Founder, The Spark Mill
    • Stories of client success are vital for fundraising success. Development offices often struggle to capture and share these stories in a respectful way that highlights client success and does not dip into “white savior” territory. This workshop will review strategies for respectful collection and dissemination of stories, tools to curate stories from clients, and an overview of the diversity and inclusion landscape around storytelling.




Workshop Session IV, Thursday, July 25, 9:35 - 10:35 AM



  • Monthly Giving – Impact Investing in Sustainers, Erica Wassdorp, President, A Direct Solution
    • Did you know that 100 monthly donors are worth an average of $24,000 a year? That they’ll stay with you for at least 5 to 7 years and often even longer? The latest research tells us that Monthly Giving made up 16% of all on-line revenue last year, up from 13%. Workshop attendees will receive a complete Road Map to implementing, or re-energizing, a Monthly Giving Program. They will also receive stats on why investing in developing a Monthly Giving Program will provide greater impact on revenue streams by converting Donors into Sustainers.
  • THE CFRE Exam: Setting Yourself Up for Success, Ashley Gatewood, Communications & Marketing Manager, CFRE International, and David LeFebvre, CFRE, Director of Development, Boys & Girls Club of Metro Richmond
    • Are you interested in becoming a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) but feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking the CFRE Exam? Relax! This session will show you how to put together a study plan, know what to study, how the exam is created, topics covered by the exam, common pitfalls, what to expect on exam day, and more. You’ll also hear from a CFRE who has gone through this process. David LeFebvre, CNP, CFRE, will share his CFRE journey including how he prepared for the exam, what study methods he found effective, and his general advice for you.
  • The Seven Habits of a Kick-A$$ Development Director, Maureen Devine-Ahl, Principal, MK Fundraising Solutions
    • Virtually all non-profits have or need development directors. Talented, well-rounded development professionals, directors especially, are in high demand.  This session is designed for anyone who aspires to be a Director, is one, or needs to hire or supervise one. Based on years of experience serving in various director roles, and coaching many others, I’ve identified the 7 habits highly effective directors possess. Learn the habits, core components of each, and simple strategies for implementation.
  • Transform Your Legacy Society: How to Create a Team of Raving Fans, Bree Ermey, Integrated Marketing Specialist, Crescendo Interactive, and Jan Clarke, Assistant Vice President of Gift Planning, University of Mary Washington
    • In the long-range game of Planned Giving, donor stewardship is key to accelerating the unlocking of greater gifts. Moving people from “toe in water” to full immersion takes time and patience. One vital goal of any fundraiser or gift planner is to move donors along a pipeline of stewardship, which should ultimately end in a legacy society – a community of passionate members who should be engaged, excited, involved, and satisfied. In this session, we will cover the basics of Planned Giving and how a Legacy Society is a critical component for long-term sustainability. We will also examine case studies of four nonprofits and their unique approaches to their legacy societies as well as hear from one fundraiser’s personal experiences.
  • Special Events, Details to be announced.


Workshop Session V, Thursday, July 25, 10:55 - 11:55 AM
  • To Do or Not to Do…Ethics in Fundraising, Virginia Thumm, President, Virginia Fundraising Consultants
    • Is it a question of black and white, right or wrong or something in the gray scale? Sometimes it’s not so easy to determine. This session will explore many ethical common and not so common fundraising dilemmas and offer participants the opportunity to work in groups to discuss possible solutions. In addition, we’ll also explore some of the current ethical hot topics. Attendees are encouraged to come with their most pressing ethical dilemmas and talk about the questions that keep them up at night.
  • Wealth Screening: A Consultative Approach to Analysis,  F. Nicholas Sollog, III, Founder & CEO, The Sollog Group, LLC, and Amy Holland, CFRE, Director of Development, The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen
    • With competition for donors increasing and potentially fewer resources available at your disposable it is
      pressing to know which donors you need to focus on based on capacity and inclination. This session reviews
      basic wealth screening analysis as a means to strengthen the knowledge of your individual donors and allow
      for more informed identification, cultivation and solicitation of annual giving, major gifts, and planned giving. Through a practical hands-on approach attendees will gain insightful and practical applications
      for implementation of a wealth screen project for their organization and will walk away knowing how to take a consultative role within their organization to better form strategy as it relates to a wealth
      screen from the pre-vendor stage all the way to the delivery of results.
  • The New Frontier of Philanthropy – A Survey of Fundraising Innovation, Kathy Laing
    • Philanthropy is changing and, as fundraisers, we need to know what’s on the horizon so we won’t be caught not knowing about new options when donors ask questions. This workshop will briefly describe the many new ways donors are giving, including impact investing, B-corps, lending, pay for success and more.
  • Rockin’ Negativity Out of the Workplace, Ashley Greene, Director of Development, Western Tidewater Free Clinic
    • This workshop will leave attendees with a better understanding of the causes of individual negativity, how to recognize and protect your team from energy vampires, and how to discover and embrace your Success Signal Style and better recognize the styles of others for more successful interactions. The workshop includes a “Success Signals” personality color code quiz, which is helpful in managing the development team and for better understanding in our daily human interactions, as fundraisers and people.
  • The Characteristics of Highly Philanthropic Boards: An Examination of Marts & Lundy’s Most Recent Findings, Nancy Raybin, Seniot Consultant & Principal, Marts & Lundy, Sarah Williams, Senior Consultant and Principail, Leader of Analytical Solutions, Marts & Lundy
    • In 2019 Marts & Lundy continues to study institutions where board giving represents a higher percentage of total giving and the institution’s overall fundraising also is higher. Marts & Lundy began this research in 2012 and seven years later has enriched this important conversation with data from more than 125 New York nonprofits. In this session, Nancy and Sarah will share the most recent findings and analysis, including the impact of the following on board giving and total giving: Diversity and Composition; Engagement and Expectations; Nomination and Orientation Process; Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.