Transformational Gifts: Attaining the Gift of a Lifetime

Denver, CO | December 3, 2024 8:00 am MT - December 4, 2024 12:00 pm MT

Registrant Access Only

This training will not be available asynchronously.

Transformational Gifts: Attaining the Gift of a Lifetime

Denver, CO | December 3, 2024 8:00 am MT - December 4, 2024 12:00 pm MT

Develop and activate a cultivation plan for transformational gift donors.


Transformational gifts are often the result of decades of strategic cultivation and stewardship efforts, culminating in a commitment that positively impacts the institution’s trajectory. However, understanding what motivates and compels donors to make a transformational gift is a key aspect that is missing in many organizations. To advance the vision of your institution, you must learn to successfully navigate both the internal and external complexities of high-level donors and gifts. 

In this one-and-a-half day conference, our expert panel of speakers will share valuable strategies for cultivating and soliciting your top donors in ways that strongly align with the future of your institution. You will learn how to: 

  • Identify, cultivate and solicit donors with transformational capacity. 
  • Inspire donors to make a transformational gift. 
  • Develop and negotiate mutually beneficial proposals between donors and your institution. 
  • Implement a stewardship plan for transformational donors. 

You’ll also have the chance to share best practices and network with advancement professionals from across the country who are inspired to transform higher education and society through philanthropy. If you want to engage in honest conversations about the challenges and triumphs of transformational gift work and leave with an action plan to strengthen your relationships with high-level donors, join us in Denver for this practical and interactive experience. 

To preserve an intimate and productive experience, this conference is capped at 30 attendees.

Who should attend?

This conference will be most valuable if you have a specific donor in mind whom you wish to cultivate, solicit, and steward. Principal, major, and planned gift officers, as well as vice presidents of advancement, directors of development, and stewardship/donor relations professionals, will leave with a comprehensive transformational gift strategy for a donor, or—more broadly—for their institutions.

Register 3 or more people and get a team discount! Discount will be automatically applied at check out.  


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

DAY ONE: Tuesday, December 3, 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.



The Complexity and Promise of Transformational Gifts
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
In this interactive opening session, you will identify your biggest obstacles when it comes to transformational gift work. Guided by our expert speakers, we will discuss how these challenges relate to trends and emerging philanthropic realities in higher education.



Morning Break
10:00 – 10:15 a.m.



The Transformational Donor Cycle: Understanding and Unlocking “Institution Advancing” Opportunities
10:15 – 11:30 a.m.
Cultivating, soliciting, securing, and stewarding a transformational gift requires a deep understanding of the transformational donor cycle. Using current trends to inform and guide our conversation, we’ll focus on essential aspects to prepare you for success. From knowing how to identify a transformational donor and align donor interests with institutional priorities, to navigating stewardship after the gift is made, you’ll learn the anatomy of a transformational gift and the strategies associated throughout the process.



11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.



Building and Aligning the Vision
12:30 – 1:45 p.m.
Aligning the values of your institution with the donor’s passions and abilities leads to transformative opportunities. However, building and aligning this vision is a complex and highly personalized process from beginning to end. Learn how to achieve this strategic alignment by focusing on institutional ambition, donor interest, and the ability to deliver on your promise.



Afternoon Break
1:45 – 2:00 p.m.



Top-Tier Cultivation & Solicitation
2:00-3:15 p.m.
Creating a clear path for your donor requires ownership of a priority within your institution and a demonstration of the challenge the gift will be able to solve. By working through this process—one that leads to top-tier cultivation and solicitation—your institution will reap rewards for years to come. Learn what this looks like by understanding engagement tiers and how they can apply to the prospects in your network.



Donor Relations for Top-Tier Donors
3:15 – 4:30 p.m.
High-level stewardship is required for high-level donors. In this session, you will learn what the most effective style of stewardship looks like for transformational donors and consider ways to strengthen your partnership with donor relations colleagues. By understanding how critical next-level donor relations are for securing transformational gifts, you will prepare your team for the cultivation of the next gift that advances the vision and mission of your institution.



Networking Reception (included in registration fee)
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: Wednesday, December 4, 2024

8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. MT (local time in Denver, CO)
Breakfast (included in registration fee)
8:00 – 8:30 a.m.



Day One Recap and Q&A
8:30 – 9:00 a.m.



Developing the Proposal & Gift Agreement
9:00 – 11:15 a.m.

A break will be included in this session.

Developing a proposal for a transformational gift takes craft, precision, and significant attention to detail to demonstrate the future return on investment. You will learn the detailed expectations of transformational donors, as well as the critical components of what a successful proposal looks like. Building on this, you will also review the legal and practical considerations for developing and executing a gift agreement.



Action-Plan Sharing and Closing Q&A
11:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
The closing session of this program will give you time to develop an action plan based on what you’ve learned and how you can more effectively engage with transformational donors into the future. You’ll be able to strategize with other attendees and ask questions of the speaker panel to help round out your next steps from this conference.



Academic Impressions Office
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!


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

A 10% discount is available if you book your room using this link.

This discount is subject to general hotel availability and not guaranteed. So, we recommend booking as soon as possible!