Maximize the Success of Your Next Campaign: A Conference for Campaign Leaders

Atlanta, GA | August 26, 2024 8:00 am ET - August 27, 2024 5:00 pm ET

Registrant Access Only

This training will not be available asynchronously.

Maximize the Success of Your Next Campaign: A Conference for Campaign Leaders

Atlanta, GA | August 26, 2024 8:00 am ET - August 27, 2024 5:00 pm ET

Confidently lead your campus through its next comprehensive campaign.


As the campaign leader, you must be thoughtful and organized in your approach to campaign planning to pull off this large-scale initiative for your campus community. This front-end planning phase requires you to evaluate the feasibility of your campaign, create the infrastructure of support, ensure buy-in and commitment from critical stakeholders, prepare your staff, and garner volunteer leaders, to name a few. Historically, you may have felt pressure to skip some of these steps since this work takes a lot of time and effort. However, in today’s competitive fundraising landscape, that is no longer an option. 

In this conference, we’ve designed an experience where you, as a campaign leader, get to take a deep dive into preparing the front-end planning of your next campaign. You will learn all the critical components of this analysis, including: 

  1. Assessing your campus’s readiness for the campaign: Get clear on your campaign’s purpose, and evaluate how well-prepared your campus is to meet those goals, so that you can identify new philanthropic opportunities while mitigating potential risks. 
  1. Aligning critical campus partners with your philanthropic campaign goals: Identify who your critical academic and non-academic partners are, and learn how to strategically collaborate with them to solicit ideas while collectively defining their philanthropic role in your next big initiatives. 
  1. Maximizing staff and volunteer participation: Learn how to best prepare your team and volunteers so they become invested, engaged, and serve as potential leaders in your next campaign.  
  1. Preparing for your audience: Begin strategizing your communication plans that the public—including current students, parents, board members, alumni, and prospective donors—will eventually consume. This includes how to use data to identify your donor prospects, and how to creatively position and brand your next campaign. 

This comprehensive two-day conference will not only give you the opportunity to zoom out and see the big picture of what a front-end campaign analysis entails, you will also walk away with practical tools, strategies, and resources that you can use right away in your planning efforts.  Our content has been carefully curated by our expert panel, who all offer extensive years of overseeing campaigns large and small, as well as campuses of varying sizes. 

Who should attend?

This conference is for mid-level career and senior team members in advancement from all institution types and sizes, who are planning campaigns at any level, and who want to create a blueprint that will prepare them to cover the first critical steps in preparation for their next one. If you’re new to advancement and want to learn about campaign planning and structure, this program is also ideal for you.


Your registration fee includes full access to all conference sessions and materials and access to breakfast, lunch, and the networking reception on Monday, and breakfast and lunch on Tuesday, as well as refreshments and snacks throughout the conference.
Day One: August 26, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. ET (Local time in Atlanta)
Check-in & Breakfast
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



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



Understanding the Value of Campaigns
9:00 – 10:15 a.m.
Comprehensive campaigns can play an integral part in centering and lifting philanthropy and brand awareness while furthering the mission of your institution. In this opening session, we will highlight the recent success of many campaigns that we see in the news and then highlight campaign trends, both positive and negative. Knowing how to objectively assess the philanthropic health of your campus is a critical skill that advancement leaders must know how to do well to become an asset, especially in preparation for the next campaign. You will learn best practices about how to adjust your case for support from other industries that can be applied to philanthropic efforts in higher education.



Morning Break
10:15 – 10:30 a.m.



Identifying the Most Critical Campaign Planning Steps
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Our expert speakers will first provide a historical overview of campaigns and how to manage your campus’s expectations (and community understanding of them) before walking you through the steps involved in planning a successful campaign. These steps will include considerations for who to involve in your planning process, when to involve them, and a suggested timeline for your preparation.



Small Group Activity: Assessing Your Campus’s Campaign Readiness
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Now that you’ve received information regarding the health of your shop to successfully prepare for a campaign, we will divide you into teams or in small groups with colleagues from similar-sized institutions, so you have an opportunity to apply what you’ve learned so far by assessing your campus’s readiness.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m.


Aligning Fundraising Goals with Academic Priorities

1:00 – 2:15 p.m.
Why are you in campaign? Your answer must line up with your institutional mission and academic priorities, and your campaign goal should be set based on actual prospects and the history of your campus’s fundraising efforts. Additionally, not only does your campaign need to be a priority for institutional leadership, but it also needs to be a priority for your academic unit leaders. Learn how to build a campaign pyramid and orient these leaders to serve as strong partners in your fundraising efforts.



Afternoon Break
2:15 – 2:30 p.m.



Partnering with Academic Leaders and Campus Partners
2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
A campaign is not just the responsibility of the fundraising team—it is an organization-wide effort and commitment. Together, we will consider how to create meaningful partnerships that will make your campaign a success—from athletics to student affairs, to legal counsel, research, government affairs, marketing and communication, academic affairs, and more.



Small Group Discussions: Applying Today’s Content in Your Context
4:00 – 4:30 p.m.
Through an interactive activity in smaller groups with the conference speakers joining each group, we will help you to apply the information you received today in your own institutional context to discuss and determine the foundational strength of your next campaign.



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 whom you may not have connected with yet.



Day Two: August 27, 2024
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET (Local time in Atlanta)
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Crafting Campaign Policies and Procedures
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.
Policy and procedure are boring—until they aren’t! From establishing clear guidelines, to ensuring accountability and transparency, crafting robust policies is essential for achieving fundraising goals while upholding institutional integrity. We will dive into the intricacies of policy development explicitly tailored for campaign fundraising, where through practical insights and real-world examples, the session will share the best practices to define the campaign timeline and objectives, establish ethical standards, develop guidelines for donor stewardship and naming, create transparent reporting mechanisms, and discover strategies for ongoing evaluation and adaptation.



Preparing Your Team
9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
There could be many variables to factor in when preparing your own team for your next campaign, including increasing your staff for a campaign or analyzing the current staffing structure and making the case for more resources as needed. Team members could be new to your organization or experienced. Staff may have different understandings of your campaign goals or need to better understand their specific role in a campaign. Therefore, it’s critical to prepare a vision for your team to find meaningful ways to connect to your next campaign while also helping your campus to meet its intended goals. This session will help you to think through ways to prepare your own team for your next campaign launch and use this long-term initiative to plan staff for succession planning.



Morning Break
10:30 – 10:45 a.m.



Considerations for Creating a Volunteer Structure for your Next Campaign
10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
While we know that it’s common practice to utilize volunteer leaders, who are often current or prospective donors, have you considered how to structure a meaningful partnership with your select volunteers to advance your campaign’s strategic priorities? This session will provide you with a case study on how one institution structured their volunteer leadership program—which includes resources and ideas for recruiting, onboarding, and training—for campaign success and beyond. We’ll also share information on considerations for recognizing your campaign volunteers and preparing them for an exceptional experience from the very start to the end of your campaign.



12:00 – 1:00 p.m.



Analyzing and Managing Your Campaign Prospects
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Understanding and analyzing potential campaign prospects—including alumni and existing donors—and projecting their capacity, is critical information to gather during the planning stages of your next campaign. But how do you highlight important patterns in your data, identify gaps in your pipeline, and develop a metric-driven strategy? And how do you craft a story to your president, board members, and other key stakeholders that encourages their support and engagement? In this session, we’ll review a few institutional case studies to diagnose their readiness to effectively launch a new campaign based on their current alumni and donor pipelines.



Afternoon Break
2:00 – 2:15 p.m.



Considerations for Your Communications & Stewardship Strategies
2:15 – 3:30 p.m.
The planning phase may be the right time to consider your distinct communication message and identity during your campaign. This session will provide you with different considerations when planning for your communication strategy as part of your silent phase. We will also explore different kinds of communication media that your campus may choose to deploy to reach your alumni, donors, parents, students, staff, faculty, and other critical partners during your campaign. It is also just as essential to consider what Donor Relations and Stewardship practices have in place, knowing that your donors may give again during the silent and public phases of your campaign. We will explore creative communication and stewardship practices, including digital tools to show donors the impact of their gifts in the most personalized way possible.



Final Recommendations for Campaign Leaders
3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
Campaigns are long-term fundraising efforts, lasting 5 to 10 years. This timespan will inevitably include hurdles you must overcome and navigate around to be successful. We will finish our time together with a conversation around considerations for preparing and managing through the unexpected changes and leave you with some final recommendations by our expert speaker panel as we close this conference experience.



Final Q&A and Conference Wrap-Up
4:30 – 5:00 p.m.



Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead

3300 Peachtree Road, N.E.

Atlanta, GA 30305

A discounted room rate of $229/night is available if you use this link to book your room before August 5, 2024.


“Great conference to attend as you are beginning to think about a campaign. Do yourself a favor and attend early, BEFORE you start planning!”
“Academic Impressions did a fantastic job organizing our conference on campaign planning. The speakers shared an impressive depth of knowledge and their ability to speak intelligently on a wide range of questions was remarkable. I will certainly consider conferences from Academic Impressions in the future.”
“I have attended dozens of conferences over my 20+ years in Advancement work. The conference on campaign planning was the most impressive conference I have attended. The amount of information, ready-to-use takeaways, and opportunity to unpack learnings with colleagues throughout the session made it a learning experience like none other. The facilitators were generous with their experiences, open, honest, and led the discussions flawlessly.”