A Comprehensive Approach to Modern Campaigns

A Comprehensive Approach to Modern Campaigns

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Learn how to overcome common campaign challenges by taking a more intentional approach to your planning efforts.

There are many obstacles your campaign may encounter throughout its lifecycle. Changes in our financial climate, campus leadership, gift officer turnover, and more, can contribute to an adjustment in your best laid plans. By developing a more intentional strategy, you will be able to respond to changes and be more effectively adaptable.

Whether you are in a leadership role, working in frontline fundraising, or involved in stewardship, events, or communications, you will learn in-depth strategies and solutions to these major issues and more:

  • How to effectively staff and resource your shop
  • How gift officers should strategize their cultivation, partnerships, and asks
  • What it takes to create an effective campaign communications strategy
  • Running and managing effective volunteer programs and committees
  • What campaign events you should be hosting and how to measure the ROI

This conference will be best for those who are in the later planning stages of a campaign or have launched.


Post-Conference Workshop: Communication Tools, Publications, and Marketing Strategies

This interactive workshop will focus on the communication tools and publications that can boost the visibility and messaging of your campaign, as well as how you can incorporate video and other experiential components. Our expert instructor will show you examples of effective communications, review your campaign materials, and provide feedback to help you develop more compelling messages for your donors. You will leave this session equipped with tools to assess and continuously improve your own campaign materials when you return to campus.


Who Should Attend

Advancement leadership, campaign directors, frontline fundraisers, donor relations, and communications professionals who are involved in campaign planning, strategy, and management will benefit most from this conference. Teams are highly encouraged to attend to get the full benefit of the sessions.

“This was my first Academic Impressions conference. I've hesitated in the past to attend because of the cost. This program was worth every single penny. I sent a thank you to my VP on the first day for supporting my attendance!”

- Debra Geer, Senior Director - Advancement Communications and Donor Relations, Union College (NY)

“I was so impressed with Academic Impressions that I cannot wait to recommend these trainings to colleagues and bring Academic Impressions to my institution!”

- Kristin Miller, Director of Advancement, College of Visual and Performing Arts, NIU Foundation

“I appreciated the honesty, experience, and communication from all of the presenters. I learned so much and would recommend this program to anyone considering a campaign.”

- Katie Howard, Director of Stewardship, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

“This conference was the definition of professional development and collaboration. A wonderful, true networking experience. Outstanding leadership team.”

- Anne Tolle, VP Strategic Communications, August Jackson

“Overall, very happy with the conference and speakers. Everyone was so knowledgeable, and I am taking back so much information.”

- Holly Quinn, Director of Development Services, Northeast Community College



Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials, access to the networking reception on Monday, breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, and breakfast on Wednesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.

Day 1
12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.


The Future of Campaigns, Current Obstacles, and Trends

Where does the comprehensive campaign fit into the future of higher education fundraising? What is the future of the feasibility study? How are institutions using outside counsel and consultants? This session shall address common obstacles and discuss the current trends and thinking around campaign planning.



Aligning Donor Interests and Developing a Long-Term Solicitation Strategy

You spend months, even years, identifying and articulating campaign priorities with internal stakeholders, yet your top donors have interests in funding projects that lie outside of the official scope of the campaign. Our speakers will share insights on navigating the details of closing a gift, aligning internal and external priorities, and ensuring dollars are being allocated appropriately without compromising campaign (or prospect) priorities.



Networking Reception
This informal reception is your chance to decompress, have some refreshments on us, and expand your network of connections. Our programs are intentionally designed for smaller groups, so this is a great time to catch-up with attendees and speakers whom you may not have connected with yet.


Day 2
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Staffing, Training and Supporting the Frontline

Running a campaign takes a strategic blend of resources. In this program, the instructor will provide practical tips for staffing, training, and supporting your frontline fundraisers. While working through an activity on organizing a training development program, you’ll acquire the tactics and strategies necessary to bring on new fundraising staff.



Resourcing Your Campaign

Running a modern campaign takes a unique blend of human and fiscal resources. During this session, you will learn practical tips for appropriately staffing and training for a capital campaign as well as insights on the additional infrastructure, technology, and budgetary resources your frontline fundraisers need to be successful. You will have the opportunity to identify where additional resources are needed in your shop. Working through checklists for staff, infrastructure, and budgetary resources, you will have the opportunity to identify where you are appropriately resourced, identify where there are gaps, and develop a prioritization plan for acquiring the resources you need.



Leveraging Campaign Consultants

In this session, we explore the different ways you can create teams to manage your campaign and initiatives. You likely found holes in your staffing and needs and are questioning for which roles you should permanently staff and which might make sense to be contracted. We will help you understand the options available in campaign consultants and allow you to determine what will work best for your shop and your situation.



Donor Relations and Communications in Campaign

Knowing which stewardship activities and outreach are most appropriate and effective are critical in retaining your donors, especially during a sustained campaign period. This session will help you build a donor relations focus into your campaign plans and communications strategies. You will see examples of campaign case statements and how to better receipt your gifts, as well as, how to create and distribute acknowledgements. We will conclude with a shop-wide audit activity that you will be able to take back to your campus.



Effectively Working with Campaign Volunteers and Committees

Volunteers can be a great resource if managed and organized in an effective, structured, and intentional way. You will learn how to structure helpful volunteer programs and committees. You will also learn what goes into developing volunteer relationships and using their skills and talents in a way that not only makes them an asset to your campaign but also future donors and advocates, if they aren’t already.


Day 3
8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Successful Campaign Events

During your campaign, there are a number of purposeful events that you should consider to better engage donors with their philanthropy. Learn strategies on how to best position your president and leading advocates and how to effectively involve students and alumni. Our instructors will help you determine how many events should be launched annually and identify the metrics that will help you prove each event’s success.



Campaign Problem Solving: Planning for and Managing the Unexpected

It’s impossible to predict the unexpected that may occur during a campaign, such as the stepping down of a President, the loss of an advancement leader, or a PR issue that threatens relationships with donors and prospects. Budgetary, staffing, and donor support issues may also arise mid-campaign and threaten to derail your progress. However, this is not the time to panic; this is the time to reassess, realign, and restructure in the direction of success. Utilizing some sample scenarios, we will give you the tools and tactics to remain successful in your campaign efforts.


Post-Conference Workshop: Communication Tools, Publications, and Marketing Strategies
12:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Your registration fee includes the pre-conference workshop and materials, breakfast and lunch on Wednesday, as well as refreshments.

This interactive workshop will focus on the communication tools and publications that can boost the visibility and messaging of your campaign, as well as how you can incorporate video and other experiential components. Our expert instructor will show you examples of effective communications, review your campaign materials, and provide feedback to help you develop more compelling messages for your donors. You will then complete a campaign communications audit and work to draft more effective communications pieces for the future. You will leave this workshop equipped with tools to assess and continuously improve your own campaign materials when you return to campus.



Dexter Bailey

Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Dexter is a fundraising executive with over 25 years of experience building successful programs at both public and private universities. His expertise includes reengineering comprehensive fundraising programs, complex principal gift strategy development, alumni relations, staffing development, and comprehensive campaign implementation.

Read Dexter's full bio here.

Angie Joens

Angela Marie Joens

Assistance Vice Chancellor of Development Outreach
University of California Davis

Angela has extensive management, development and stewardship experience. In her current role, she supervises annual giving, donor relations, research and prospect management, proposal services, marketing and communications, and development recruitment. Joens is also a nonprofit consultant, an executive coach, and speaks nationally on topics related to stewardship, development and leadership.

Read Angela's full bio here.


Ashlyn W. Sowell

Associate Vice President for Campaign Operations and Engagement
Johns Hopkins University

With over more than 20 years of experience in development, Ashlyn has had great success working with several organizations, including The Children’s House at Johns Hopkins, Duke University and Gettysburg College. In her current position, she works closely with Donor and Volunteer Engagement, Special Events, and Donor Communications and is beginning planning for Johns Hopkins’ next campaign. She is an active speaker and writer in the field and loves to mentor newcomers to development.

Read Ashlyn's full bio here.

Lynne Wester

Lynne Wester

Donor Relations Guru

Lynne is a frequent conference speaker and a well-known resource for donor relations and fundraising. Using her hands-on approach, Lynne works with many organizations to help them keep their focus donor driven, technology savvy, strategic, and always with a splash of good humor.

Read Lynne's full bio here.

All-Inclusive Members Get

$250 OFF!*

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Questions About the Event?

Brittany Iwaszkiw

Brittany Iwaszkiw
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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*All-inclusive members receive $250 off of conference registrations (in addition to the early bird discount if applicable). Academic Affairs, Advancement/Alumni Relations, Business Office, Enrollment Management, Student Affairs, and Leadership members will continue to receive $100 off conference registrations. Upgrade your membership to qualify for a higher discount. Please note this discount is not applicable on pre- or post-conference workshops or conference binders.