Fundraising for Deans

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Fundraising for Deans

This event has ended.

Learn to meet your philanthropic goals by partnering effectively with purpose-driven donors.


As a Dean, you hold numerous responsibilities, and fundraising is likely a critical part of your portfolio. You are probably also finding the philanthropic landscape more competitive than ever, as donors are becoming more selective with their giving. To be a successful fundraiser, it is important to understand how to align your interests with those of donors seeking to make significant societal differences. 

Join us for this one-and-a-half-day interactive conference, led by renowned university advancement consultant Jim Langley. Jim will help you to learn how to more effectively listen to prospective donors and align their personal values with the goals of your academic unit. Through group discussions and activities, you will:  

  • Reflect on your leadership and vision.  
  • Discuss the fundraising challenges you face in your unit, and identify how to overcome existing barriers to advance the culture of philanthropy in your school or college.  
  • Practice essential fundraising skills, such as donor cultivation and solicitation. 
  • Gain valuable insight from your peers to further inform your fundraising approach.  

Meet us in Denver, and begin to unlock new philanthropic strategies within your unit.   

Who should attend?

If you are a new Dean looking to develop your fundraising knowledge and skills, an experienced Dean with limited exposure to fundraising looking to enhance your skills, or an academic leader aspiring to the Dean position, this conference is for you. Development officers who can attend with their Deans will also benefit from this opportunity to strategically design your fundraising approaches together.


Day 1: Thursday, February 22, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. MT (Local time in Denver, CO)

Registration and Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee) 
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Welcome and Introductions 
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Acknowledging Current and Emerging Challenges in Higher Education
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Higher education today is facing a range of challenges, such as financial imbalance, increased competition, and enrollment declines, to name a few. In this interactive session, you will identify current and emerging challenges for your institution or academic unit, and we will discuss how these challenges relate to the philanthropic realities higher education is facing both today and into the future.



Morning Break
10:00 – 10:15 a.m.



Connecting Self-Awareness to Philanthropy
10:15 – 11:00 a.m.
As the Dean, the challenges facing your academic unit are yours to contend with. How do you show up in the face of these challenges as a leader? In this session, you will consider how your self-awareness and authenticity as a Dean influence how you approach your relationships with prospective donors.



Assessing Your Philanthropic Vital Signs
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Donors give to institutions for four main reasons—appreciation, affiliation, agency, and accountability. These also constitute the philanthropic vital signs of the fundraising operation of your academic unit. This session will give you the opportunity to assess how you currently engage donors—and recognize opportunities to better engage prospects in the future.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Articulating Clear Priorities to Enable Fundraising Success 
1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
What do you know (or not know) about your academic unit, and how can you translate that information appropriately to internal and external constituents? Having clear priorities for your academic unit and being able to communicate them is vital to successful relationships with donors. In this session, you will identify your priorities and then draft and practice your elevator pitch for them.



Afternoon Break
2:15 – 2:30 p.m.



Engaging Prospects Workshop
2:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Once you have assessed your philanthropic vital signs and defined your priorities, you are ready to engage with those prospects who have the strongest philanthropic propensity. In this session, you will focus on a prospective donor you are trying to cultivate. You will learn the dos and don’ts of engaging with your prospect before, during, and after an initial appointment. You will also develop a plan to build on your subsequent interactions—from propensity determination, to project conceptualization, to a written proposal.



Networking Reception 
4:30– 5:30 p.m.
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 with whom you may not have connected yet.



Day 2: Friday, February 23, 2024
8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MT (Local time in Denver, CO)
Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee) 
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Demonstrating Institutional Accountability to Donors
9:00 – 9:45 a.m.
Once you have closed a gift, it should be documented in a formal gift agreement. At this stage, your communication with a donor becomes even more important, and transparency is crucial to maintain donor trust. In this session, you will learn how to treat your donor like a stakeholder, show them how their gift is having an impact, and offer meaningful ways for them to stay involved with your school or college.



Solutions Clinic: Getting Advice from Peers to Help Advance Your Philanthropic Priorities
9:45 –11:45 a.m.
Even after developing a clear, intentional plan to engage prospects, institutional challenges can present roadblocks to fostering the culture of philanthropy you hope to achieve in your school or college as a Dean. In this final session, you will work with peers to identify some of the biggest challenges you’re facing related to engaging prospective donors using the purpose-driven approach to fundraising discussed throughout the conference. Then, you will dialogue and brainstorm possible solutions and strategies for how to mitigate or resolve the specific challenges you’re facing so that you can advance your philanthropic goals.



Final Q&A and Closing Remarks
11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


Save on In-Person Conference Registrations

Attend any three in-person conferences for $5,000 for Members ($5,500 for Non-Members) – or $1,667 dollars per registration for Members ($1,833 for Non-Members) – with a Conference 3-Pack. There’s no one way to use your 3-Pack!

  • Send 3 people to the same conference
  • Send 3 individuals to different conferences
  • Experience 3 different conferences yourself

Learn More


The training will be conducted in person at Academic Impressions’ Denver-based office at:
5299 DTC Blvd, Suite 1400, Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Nearby hotel suggestions:

Hyatt Place Denver Tech Center – 3-star hotel
8300 E Crescent Pkwy, Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Distance from office: 0.5 miles if driving, 0.3 miles if walking

A room rate of $114/night is available if you book your room using this link.

This reduced rate and room availability are subject to general hotel availability and not guaranteed. So, we recommend booking as soon as possible! 


Hyatt Regency Denver Tech Center – 4-star hotel
7800 E Tufts Ave, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 1.1 miles

Denver Marriott Tech Center – 4-star hotel
4900 S Syracuse St, Denver, CO 80237
Distance from office: 0.9-1.2 miles, depending on route