Build Better Gift Agreements

Build Better Gift Agreements

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Revisit your gift agreement documentation and processes to help protect your institution and donors.


Gift agreement documentation and associated processes have rapidly become more digital in current times. Ensuring the documents’ language and workflow are aligned with best practices has become even more important to protect both the institution and the donor against risks.

Join us to gain insights from our experts and your peers on how gift agreement strategies have shifted recently, while also having the opportunity to get answers to your trickiest gift agreement questions. Armed with tools and templates, you will walk away with resources to help you reshape your gift agreements and associated processes. Our experienced faculty will discuss how to:

  • Draft sound gift agreements that protect your institution
  • Incorporate legal and pragmatic best practices
  • Improve your gift agreement documentation process
  • Compose donor-centered agreements
  • Handle amendment changes
  • Decide when and how to include morality clauses
  • Mitigate risks and threats


What You Will Get

Attendees gain tools and resources such as:

  • A Toolkit to Train Your Gift Officers
  • New Commitment Process Flow
  • Gift Documentation Form
  • Sample Legal Whitepaper
  • Gift Documentation Handbook Template
  • Laws and Regulations Affecting Scholarship Programs


Who Should Attend

This conference is designed for those responsible for developing and maintaining successful gift agreements and is ideal for anyone who needs to reassess or improve their gift agreement process. Professionals in advancement services or donor relations who manage gift agreements are encouraged to attend, either individually or as a team.

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions

See What Our Attendees are Saying

“The virtual design of this conference coupled with the amazing work of our program manager promoted a high level of engagement and sense of community among attendees. The speakers were knowledgeable and enthusiastic to share their experiences. It was a refreshing shift from long days of traditional meetings on Zoom!”

“This is the first time I’ve ever attended a virtual conference, and to be honest, I had low expectations. Well, I was wrong. I am very impressed with the platform used and the quality of the content shared. Oftentimes, these conferences only talk about ideas and what could work, but at this event, actual pathways and practical next steps were shared. Academic Impressions did a great job featuring quality speakers who were willing to share what they know.”

“Although the workshop was online, it felt as if the presenters were right there with us. All presenters were knowledgeable and really related the content to real work experiences. They were so willing to answer questions and offer assistance—I learned so much that I can apply.”

“Many conferences leave you with learning but not always sure how to turn that into action for your organization. There were actionable tips shared throughout the two days and tools provided to help move the learning into action. I am always impressed with Academic Impressions conferences and this virtual one did not disappoint.”

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


DAY 1 | Thursday, April 22, 2021

All Times Eastern

Welcome and Introductions
11:00 – 11:45 a.m.
We will begin the program by getting to know one another and understanding the knowledge and expertise we have within the cohort by participating in a self-assessment exercise.



The Foundations of Gift Documentation
11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Our faculty will outline the fundamentals of successful gift documentation by defining their common terms, legal implications, and whether they are even necessary.



12:30 – 12:45 p.m.



Developing the Baseline
12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
Every gift agreement must include essential information about the donor, the fund, and the agreement itself. Learn what you need to document and view samples of the language in various agreements.



1:45 – 2:30 p.m.



Improving Your Gift Agreement Processes
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Knowing your full gift agreement lifecycle, from proposal to reporting, and who is responsible for which stage of the gift agreement process is essential to the success of the gift and the relationship you have with the donor. In this session, we will walk through the gift agreement process and discuss the common pain points you may have, such has knowing how to ensure compliance and how any other common pitfalls can be mitigated.



3:30 – 3:45 p.m.



Developments in Gift Agreement Trends
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
Beyond the standard gift agreement language and processes, there are a number of new developments within the gift agreements world. In this session we will talk through current topics such as:

  • The uptick in estate planning
  • The pledge reminder debate
  • How temporary and permanent closures of colleges and campuses are affecting agreements
  • Changes in perspective regarding building/facility gifts and naming opportunities
  • A renewed desire for protected scholarship criteria



Speaker Q&A
4:45 – 5:00 p.m.


Day 2 | Friday, April 23, 2021

All Times Eastern

Reflections and Networking
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.



Managing Donor Restrictions and Preferences: Legal Considerations
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
You will learn best practices to avoid legal consequences as well as how and when to involve legal counsel in the gift documentation process.



Long Break
12:30 – 1:15 p.m.



Managing Donor Restrictions and Preferences: Practical Considerations
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.
Beyond legal considerations, shops must also decide if a gift is practical and if it will ultimately serve the institution’s mission. Our faculty will share examples of practical matters to consider and tips for how to respond to impractical requests.



2:15 – 2:30 p.m.



Donor-Friendly Gift Documentation
2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Perhaps the trickiest part of composing gift agreements is adding touches of warmth to an otherwise frigid document. Our faculty will share ways to keep the donor at the heart of this process and enhance the donor’s experience, even during this time of great challenges.



3:30 – 3:45 p.m.



Building a Toolkit and Educating Gift Officers
3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
In this final session, we will help you develop next steps and prepare to have conversations with gift officers in order to ensure a smooth process from beginning to end for your donors.



Speaker Q&A Panel
4:45 – 5:00 p.m.


Portrait of Kathleen Diemer

Kathleen Diemer

Associate Vice President, Advancement Relations, George Mason University

Kathleen Diemer, CFRE, currently serves as Associate Vice President of Advancement Relations at George Mason University. In her role at Mason, she oversees the donor relations, advancement communications, prospect research and management, and information technology and reporting teams. In addition, she played a key role in helping to steer the success of the university’s $500 million Faster Farther campaign.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Debbie Meyers

Debbie Meyers

Assistant Vice President for Advancement Operations, Chautauqua Institution

Debbie Meyers has worked in advancement for more than 30 years, much of that time in higher education. Recently, she began her new role at Chautauqua Institution, heading their foundation’s advancement operations. In addition to creating or enhancing donor relations and stewardship programs at the University of Maryland, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Florida, she has built communications and development programs for a Catholic high school, an art museum and a health center development office.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


Can't attend the conference? Buy the binder.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Nick Pettet

Nick Pettet
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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