Building Better Gift Agreements in Higher Education

Building Better Gift Agreements in Higher Education

June 18 - 19, 2020 | Eastern Time

Revisit your gift agreements and bolster your processes to help mitigate risk.


During this pandemic, many shops are using the time to revisit their gift agreement language and processes to help them prevent— in extreme cases — donor lawsuits and damaging publicity. To mitigate these risks, to protect all involved stakeholders, donors, and the institution alike, shops need to understand how the gift agreement landscape has recently shifted during COVID-19, as well as how their gift agreement language and processes, in general, can be improved.

Join us to dive deep into your current policies, share your best practices, and understand how strategies are shifting during these rapidly changing times. 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
  • Mitigate risks and threats

Attendees will also take away a collection of tools and resources to develop your gift agreements and associated processes, such as:

  • New Commitment Process Flow
  • Gift Documentation Form
  • Sample Legal Whitepaper
  • Gift Documentation Handbook Template
  • Laws and Regulations Affecting Scholarship Programs


Who Should Attend

The content of this program is designed for those responsible for developing and maintaining successful gift agreements. Professionals from across the advancement shop are encouraged to attend either individually or as a team.


Limited Attendance

In order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, we have intentionally designed this Virtual Conference to have a limited number of total attendees. To ensure access from both paying participants and also from those who have an All-Inclusive membership, when the membership cap is reached, only paying participants can register after that point (while spaces are still available). If you have questions about whether this program is right for you, please contact us.

As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds nationally, it is so important to keep connecting and networking with your peers - at a “social distance” - and to keep learning and developing as higher-ed leaders and professionals. Don’t let social distancing and quarantines prevent you from setting aside time for professional development. Everything is changing so fast; more than ever, we need to be pooling our resources and knowledge and finding the best ways to develop our capacity, connect and share with each other, and move forward during a challenging time.

*A limited number of FREE member spots are open for each virtual conference. Sign up today.

The Academic Impressions Virtual Conference Experience

Our virtual conferences go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these new programs are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. As higher education strives to adapt rapidly to the shifting crisis, connecting with your peers who are experiencing similar challenges can be the best use of your professional development time.

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
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions
  • Access to an online conference hub — one-stop shop for presentation materials, attendee introductions, worksheets, supplemental reading, videos, and other resources

See What Our Attendees are Saying

"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 | June 18, 2020 | Eastern Time


Tech Check
1:00 – 1:30 p.m.



Welcome and Introductions
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
We will begin the program by getting to know one another and understanding the knowledge and expertise in the virtual room by way of a self-assessment tool and an analysis of the pre-conference survey.



The Foundations of Gift Documentation
2:30 – 3:00 p.m.
In this opening session, our faculty will define the fundamentals of successful gift documentation and set the stage for the program.



Developing the Baseline
3:00 – 4:00 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.



4:00 – 4:15 p.m.



Improving Your Gift Agreement Processes
4:15 – 5:15 p.m.
Due to COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines, gift agreement processes have changed overnight. Our faculty will share the changes they have seen recently throughout the gift agreement process and you’ll help identify the best practices being applied during these times. We’ll discuss where your processes can be improved and incorporated upon your return to work.



Social Networking
5:15 – 5:45 p.m.


DAY 2 | June 19, 2020 | Eastern Time


Virtual Table Topics
11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
After identifying the most pertinent topics in gift agreements during the previous day, you will be able to choose the breakout room with the topic of most interest to you and your team. These facilitated conversations will be faculty and volunteer led.



Industry Changes in Current Events
11:30 – 12:00 p.m.
Most recently, the tax code behind charitable contributions have been temporarily changed for 2020 due to the CARES Act. In addition to this legal change, due to COVID-19, pledges are also being reconsidered. Pledge payments have been postponed, and donors have asked for more time to complete their pledges. We will discuss these industry trends and how they are affecting current and future gift agreements.



Managing the Legal Considerations for Donor Restrictions and Preferences
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
This session will cover the legal considerations around donors’ potential preferences and restrictions. You will learn best practices to avoid legal consequences as well as how and when to involve legal counsel in the gift documentation process.



Longer Break
1:00 – 1:30 p.m.



Managing Donor Restrictions and Preferences: Practical considerations
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Beyond legal considerations, shops must also decide if a gift is practical and 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.



2:30 – 2:45 p.m.



Donor-Friendly Gift Documentation
2:45 – 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 moment of great challenges.



3:30 – 3:45 p.m.



Educating Gift Officers: Building a Tool Kit
3:45 – 4:30 p.m.
Gift agreements involve many stakeholders. One of the best ways to ensure sound gift documentation is to properly train your partners and empower them with tools. In this session, you will learn what needs to go into a tool kit and see examples of what has worked well.



Closing, Q&A, Evaluations
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.


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.

Debbie Meyers

Debbie Meyers

Assistant Vice President for Advancement Operations, Chautauqua Foundation

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 virtual conference? Buy the binder

  • All presentation resources

  • $295


Questions About the Event?

Nick Pettet

Nick Pettet
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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*There are limited spots available for All-Inclusive Members to register for Virtual Conferences for free in 2020. Each virtual conference has a registration cap in order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, personalized attention, networking and interactivity. If the cap has been met, All-Inclusive Members can register with a $250 discount if space is available.

Academic Affairs, Advancement/Alumni Relations, Enrollment Management, and Student Affairs members will continue to receive $100 off conference registrations, if applicable. Upgrade your membership to qualify for a higher discount.

Please note the member discount is not applicable on conference binders or success coaching.