Respectfully and Confidently Engage in Difficult Conversations: A Dialogue Workshop Series for Advancement Professionals  

Online | June 6, 2024 1:30 pm ET - June 27, 2024 3:00 pm ET

This training will be recorded.

Check back here 10 days after the live event date.

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You'll get temporary access to a recording within 2 business days after the event.

Respectfully and Confidently Engage in Difficult Conversations: A Dialogue Workshop Series for Advancement Professionals  

Online | June 6, 2024 1:30 pm ET - June 27, 2024 3:00 pm ET

Gain confidence in how you communicate with alumni volunteers, donors, and colleagues during difficult situations.


As an advancement professional, you engage with alumni, volunteers, donors, and colleagues from different backgrounds, lived experiences, and perspectives. At times, you may receive unsolicited or angry opinions about institutional decisions, or inquiries about national and global news or events as they unfold. These comments or questions can sometimes be polarizing and catch you off guard. For some of us, our natural tendency in these situations is to shut down, disengage, and become defensive. However, a critical requirement of the relationship cultivation process with internal and external constituents is staying present in these challenging moments and allowing the conversation to continue despite political, religious, or social differences. It is also just as critical to know when to exit these conversations safely and professionally, depending on the intensity of the situation and/or other factors. 

Join us for this four-part online workshop series, where you’ll learn how to respond professionally to difficult conversations with alumni, volunteers, donors, and colleagues. In community with other Advancement professionals across the nation, you will learn simple yet powerful techniques and practices to help you to stay present in difficult dialogues. The workshop series will also give you an opportunity to practice having difficult conversations through a variety of case studies, and we will provide some intentional time to help participants process and debrief these mock scenarios. 

All sessions will be recorded, and you will receive a recording within two business days following each one. However, please note that the recordings will not capture the full experience that includes breakouts, so we highly encourage you to attend all four live sessions.

Who should attend?

If you’re an advancement professional who regularly engages with alumni, volunteers, donors, and colleagues, and you want to feel more prepared while gaining more confidence in your ability to remain thoughtfully engaged in personally difficult conversations, this workshop series is for you.


Session #1: Thursday, June 6 | 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET
The opening session of the workshop series will help you to reflect on why these types of conversations may be personally challenging for you and what you can do to stay engaged in them—despite the feelings that may surface. In addition, our speaker panel will introduce you to easy-to-apply communication techniques and strategies that you can apply in real-time when you’re in these kinds of conversations. You will also be provided with a reflection journal to track your progress throughout this series.

The remaining three sessions of the series will start with an opportunity to review notes from last week’s session. More importantly, you will have the chance to work in small breakout groups to practice applying the techniques you learned. Everyone will then have an opportunity to share what worked and what didn’t, so that all can learn as a group.

Each session will address a different audience with which you might engage, as follows:



Session #2: Thursday, June 13 | 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET:
Alumni, including alumni volunteers.



Session #3: Thursday, June 20 | 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Donors, including prospect donors.



Session #4: Thursday, June 27 | 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. ET
Advancement colleagues, including supervisors or prospective employers.