Wednesday, July 19

  • 7:30 AM – Conference registration, Vendor exhibits open
  • 8:30 – 11:00 AM – Opening Session: What’s New and True, What’s Old and Still Gold, Karen E., Osborne, The Osborne Group, Inc. (see complete details here)
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM – Opening Session and Buffet Lunch
  • 12:30 PM – 12:45 PM – Break, Sponsor Exhibits, Early Hotel Check-in
  • 12:45 – 2:15 PM – Workshop Session I
Emerging Track

Innovative Ways to Engage and Retain Donors, Kenda G. Council, Director of Advancement, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy,Suffolk, Virginia, and Melissa H. Hlinovsky, Annual Fund Coordinator, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk, Virginia

While having donors give large sums of money to your organization can be an important piece to your development plan, there are also quality valuable donors who are able to donate smaller gifts to your organization throughout their lives. There is a need to identify, cultivate and steward all of our donors. This workshop explores innovate ways to engage your donors – of all ages and economic backgrounds – in an effort to expand their relationship with your organization.

Advancing Track

The Annual Campaign – Doing it Well and Then Doing it Even Better Next Year, Jane Stein, JPS Consulting, Norfolk, Virginia

Participants in this session will laugh while learning the ABC’s (and secrets!) of Annual Campaigning.  Starting at the beginning, this session covers planning, organizing and executing campaigns that will grow from year to year…..and being innovative every step of the way!  All participants will leave the session with an executable roadmap for running an Annual Campaign and with a much higher likelihood of meeting all Annual Campaign goals…year after year.

Leading Track

Leadership Succession in Fundraising Organizations, Sam Davis, III, Principal, The Davis Group, Richmond, Virginia

This workshop will provide senior leaders of fundraising organizations with information on talent management challenges in the fund development profession, including reducing high rates of turnover in entry and mid-level positions and overcoming the bottleneck caused when “Baby Boomers” remain in place beyond traditional retirement ages.  Participants will learn how identifying successors frees senior leaders and the nonprofit they serve to operate more strategically, provides organizational stability and enhances the recruitment of new donors.  Steps in planning for succession will be detailed, and the means for recruiting and selecting highly capable candidates for key positions will be presented.  An interactive exercise and a case study will provide opportunities to learn from peers in small group discussion.

General Track

Share the Love: Using Social Media to Engage Donors, Steven Shattuck, Chief Engagement Officer, Bloomerang, Indianapolis, Indiana

Did you know that 53% of donors lapse because of poor donor communication? This session will help you discover how to maximize your nonprofit’s social media accounts through thankfulness, instead of promotion. We will examine real-life examples of effective social media usage from organizations large and small, as well as the latest research into what works and what doesn’t.

Professional Development Track

Senior Practitioners’ Executive Forum, Karen E. Osborne, The Osborne Group, Inc., New York, New York

What keeps you up at night? What do see on the horizon that either excites or worries you? Join your seasoned colleagues for a facilitated discussion about your biggest problems and opportunities. Together we’ll discuss, share and problem solve. You’ll walk away with a bigger network, a stronger set of possible solutions, and increased optimism about all you can accomplish in 2017.

This session is open to senior and executive level practitioners including Executive Directors with 10+ years of experience in major gift and campaign fundraising and executive level management.

  • 2:15 – 2:30 PM – Break, Sponsor Exhibits, Hotel Check-in
  • 2:30 – 3:30 PM  Workshop Session II
Emerging Track

The Improvising Fundraiser, James Wasilewski, MBA, Director of Development, VCU Wilder School and Owner, HAHA to AHA, Richmond, Virginia

Fundraising and improv.  Improv and fundraising.  How are they connected?  Success in improvisation requires listening, agreement, building relationships, connecting, storytelling, comfort with change, active choices, no real mistakes and so on.  Sound familiar? These same principles can also enhance and develop your skills as a fundraiser.  Learn in a fun way how to recognize and develop essential principles to strengthen your role as a fundraiser as we tackle a few of these vital skills.

Advancing Track

Thinking Big (Even if Your Nonprofit is Small): Major Gifts and Legacy Giving, Karin Cox, MFA, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Hartsook Companies, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, and John Warren, Executive Vice President, Harstook Companies, Inc.,  Winchester, Virginia

Whether you are a new nonprofit looking for first-time donors or a longstanding organization seeking to broaden your donor base, this session will challenge your assumptions and help you start using innovative, proven fundraising strategies to attract major gifts, including legacy gifts.

Advancing Track

Innovative Campaigns,  Allan BurrowsPresident, Capital Development Services, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and Clare Jordan, Director of Marketing & Philanthropic Engagement, Capital Development Services, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Really good campaigns have elements of the tried-and-true campaign fundamentals as well as new, big thinking to create energy and build success. In this session Allan Burrows and Clare Jordan will share expertise and invite dialogue on what makes a campaign truly innovative – from conception of the campaign objectives to securing leadership and enticing supporters – as well as some discussion of the tools you need to advance your campaign beyond the typical so that you can truly “knock it out of the park.”

Leading Track

Diversity in Action, Lindsey O-Pries, Associate Consultant and Facilitator, The Spark Mill, Richmond, Virginia

Right now, it’s more important than ever to start fast tracking your development office towards being more diverse and inclusive of historically overlooked communities. This workshop will be an overview of the many intricacies of diversity– moving from the WHY you should want it to the HOW to get there. We will provide time for questions and real life scenarios to meet the needs of participants.

General Track

The Power of Story Telling – It’s What You Say and How You Say It, Anna Goldenberg, Principal, True Impact Coaching, Norfolk, Virginia

Leaders must be powerful, charismatic communicators. They must be able to tell the story of their organization in a way that inspires, empowers and motivates everyone around them. This experiential workshop explores the “secrets” of great storytelling that will help participants boost with their own storytelling potential and strengthen the influence of their organization.

General Track

Healthy Aging Database, Jeff Johnson, Planned Giving Marketing Consultant, The Stelter Company, Des Moines, Iowa

This presentation uses data from the 2016 Natural Marketing Institute’s Healthy Aging Database® study to provide a new look at common misconceptions regarding planned giving. We’ll take a sector-specific look at how mistaken beliefs regarding age, ethnicity, geography, and net worth may be causing your organization significant gift opportunity. We’ll also provide some practical examples on how any organization can change their planned giving program from “luck to logic” by implementing some tried and true creative best practices. Applying these tips to print and digital marketing communications materials increases chances of resonating with donors of any age or capacity to give.

  • 3:30 – 4:00 PM – Break, Sponsor Exhibits and Hotel Check-in
  • 4:00 – 5:30 PM Workshop Session III   
Emerging Track

Branding for Fundraising: Appeals that Inspire, David Huffine, CFRE, VP for Advancement, St. Joseph’s Villa, Richmond, Virginia, and Drew Melson, Director of Marketing Communications, St. Joseph’s Villa, Richmond, Virginia

Organizational branding is a hot topic these days, but branding for fundraising campaigns and appeals deserves just as much thought. Theme, image and message should weave information and inspiration to influence how donors identify with an appeal and respond to it. From capital campaigns to annual fund appeals to planned giving promotion, effectiveness can be enhanced when branding is approached as a primary consideration, rather than a last minute add-on.  This presentation will focus on branding and communications best practices, and demonstrate how creating a fundraising identity can strengthen an organization’s identity as a whole.

Advancing Track

Women in Philanthropy: A Force to be Reckoned With, Beth Johnson, Founding Principal, Virginia Non-Profit Associates, LLC., Richmond, Virginia, Gail L. Letts, Virginia Market President, First Tennessee Bank, Richmond, Virginia, and Claiborne Mason, President, Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, Richmond, Virginia

We will explore the often-overlooked role women play in today’s world of philanthropy.Gail Letts will discuss recent changes in women’s wealth and why women are now a prime segment for nonprofit organizations. Beth Johnson will report on the current trends of women in philanthropy and why traditional donor engagement practices need to change to better reach this segment. Claiborne Mason will present a case study of an innovative way to target women donors and prospects.

Leading Track

Fifty Shades of Gray – A Development Officer’s Guide to Dating Donors, D. Todd Gray, Vice President and Director of Development, YMCA of the USA, Chicago, Illinois

How do you create a fresh dialog for yourself, staff and volunteers about cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of donors? This workshop will use a humorous approach to dating, engagement, and marriage as a metaphor for donor-related moves management. Participants will engage in a dialog about meeting donors, getting to know their interests, sharing an organization-related journey with them, and building a relationship that will be long-lasting. Whether it’s the first date or your 10th anniversary, this workshop will allow you to revitalize your donor relationships by applying rapport-building tools for everyone.

General Track

Leveraging Major Data into Major Gifts, Wendy McGrady, Executive Vice President, The Curtis Group, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Erin Hogan, Senior Vice President, Philanthropic Market Executive, U.S. Trust, Washington, D.C.

This session will unpack two of the most influential studies in major gift fundraising: 2017 Giving USA and 2016 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. More than just a report out of data, Erin Hogan and Wendy McGrady will focus on key trends identified in each study and how each can be used to grow an organization’s fundraising capacity and expand relationships with donors. This discussion will be followed by an in-depth question and answer session with the audience.

Professional Development Track

Finance vs. Development: Let’s Partner, Scott R. Warren, Director, Warren Whitney, Richmond, Virginia

The presentation objective is to expose development professionals and accounting staff to the information needs each has. Where the controls, rules, and needs are and where they overlap. By understanding each other’s positions and opening the lines of communication, the two functions can partner rather than being adversarial.

  • 5:30 – 6:30 PM – Sponsor Reception with Prize Drawings! Fellowship, food, and refreshment. And you don’t want to miss the good prizes!                                                      

Thursday, July 20

  • 7:30 AM – Buffet Breakfast  (A full, hot breakfast!), Sponsor Exhibits
  • 8:30 – 10:00 AM – Plenary Session, Behavioral Economics and Fundraising (click here for details)
  • 10:00 – 10:30 AM – Break, Sponsor Exhibits and Hotel Check-out
  • 10:30 AM – Noon Workshop Session IV
Emerging Track

Gratitude Fueled Giving, Cheryl A. Booms, CFRE, Consultant, Richner & Richner, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Sally Wolfe, Senior Director of Development, Williamsburg Landing, Williamsburg, Virginia

Great donor stewardship is a creative, personal approach to showing appreciation while still getting the basics right. Sending a gift acknowledgement letter, adding donors to a newsletter list, and planning an annual appreciation event are good and important – but what really makes donors feel good and helps them want to give again? In this workshop, learn how a creative, comprehensive donor stewardship program will increase donor retention rates and improve your overall fundraising results. Participants will receive a host of creative ideas form the presenters and fellow session attendees.

Advancing Track

Not Another Moves Management System, Dan Jenuwine, Oakland Community College,  Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

You return from each fundraising conference excited about a new approach to moves management. Six weeks later you’re back to your old habits. How can you design a system that works for you? In this workshop, you will learn the common pitfalls of moves management systems. You will explore the hallmarks of donor readiness. And you will discuss ways to build your best and worst habits into a personalized approach to your work.

Leading Track

15 Years to Life, Bobby Thalhimer, Senior Consultant, The Monument Group, Richmond, Virginia, and Lisa Pratt O’Mara, The Community Foundation Richmond-Central Virginia, Richmond, Virginia

Some people view 3 years’ commitment to a job is a failure, not a success. We don’t. This session is about how to create, motivate and grow a development team in a learning environment where team members remain challenged and rewarded. Great development at its root is about relationship-building. We will talk about how to build meaningful productive relationships with donors and with team-mates, and how to nurture all of these relationships in a learning environment. For nonprofits, long-term success depends upon a successful hand-off of relationships as staff members eventually retire or move on, and we will talk about how to pass the baton successfully.

General Track

Building an Active and Engaged Board of Directors Jeanne Allen, Consultant, Trainer, Facilitator, Jeanne Allen Consulting, Durham, North Carolina

Creating a thriving board of directors evolves from consistent and intentional focus and action.  In this workshop, experience and explore how to create an effective board via a board building cycle. Your volunteer leaders seek opportunities to lead, govern and plan for the future. This is a highly interactive presentation in which you’ll leave inspired and ready to try at least 3 new ideas to build meaningful board engagement.

Professional Development Track

Optimizing Your Personal Planning System, Katherine Harrison, Owner/Professional Organizer, Grace Works, LLC, Harrisonburg, Virginia

Your personal planning system includes your Calendar, To Do List, Email, Notes, Reference systems, etc. Whether electronic, paper or a combination of both – in order to enhance your productivity you need to ensure each of the discrete elements work together and are optimized to their full capacity. During this workshop, you will identify each element of your personal planning system and learn tips and tricks to integrate and optimize them. Participants will also receive a list of favorite apps and resources to help create or fine-tune a comprehensive system.

  • Noon – 12:30 PM – Break, Sponsor Exhibits and Hotel Check-out
  • 12:30 – 2:30 PMLunch and Closing Plenary Session, 25 Years of Philanthropy: Reflecting Back and Looking Forward (click here for details)
  • 2:30 PM Closing Remarks, Final Prize Drawings 
  • 3:00 PM – Conference Adjourns

…….and on to VFRI 2018!