Frontline Fundraising: Essentials of Gift Solicitation


Frontline Fundraising: Essentials of Gift Solicitation


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Build confidence throughout the donor cultivation cycle and yield stronger results from your portfolio.


As a fundraising professional, you may feel unsure of how to move a prospect forward. In the early stages, how can you get the prospect’s attention and ask questions that fuel your next moves? Later in the cycle, how can you assess motivations and strategize visits that will support your asks?

Join us for a highly interactive bootcamp that will help you create rigor in each phase of your process and offer new approaches to raise more dollars. You will use exercises and roleplays to learn key skills across all phases of donor cultivation, such as:

  • Becoming more conversational in outreach calls and emails
  • Building a robust portfolio to support your goals
  • Making the ask with increased confidence
  • Using probing questions and effective transitions to move prospects through each stage of the donor cycle

Fundraising has changed since the start of the pandemic. We will also share tips on how to show compassion in a changing world while still exuding confidence in discussing your institution’s most important philanthropic priorities.

A Highly Personalized Experience

Your registration for this bootcamp includes a 60-minute individual consultation with Kathy Drucquer Duff, whose 25 years of fundraising experience includes closing 9-figure gifts. A hallmark of the Academic Impressions bootcamp experience, the individual attention in this consultation will help you apply best practices from the bootcamp to your fundraising portfolio. To preserve the intimate and interactive nature of this training, the bootcamp is limited to 30 participants. Register early to reserve your spot!

What to Expect

  • This online course consists of six live, in-person modules, happening weekly.
  • You will attend one live learning session each week, facilitated by our expert to give you key strategies to implement.
  • Between meetings, you will watch videos around each module and complete assignments to practice and prepare for the next session.
  • Bootcamp attendees will have the opportunity to schedule two 1:1 individualized strategy and practice sessions with our Academic Impressions facilitator, Britt Iwaszkiw. Sessions will allow you to engage in role plays, deeper discussion about core concepts, and back-and-forth about institution-specific scenarios.

Great Fit for All Skill Levels

If the following statements from each phase of the donor cultivation cycle resonate, then this bootcamp is for you:

  • Outreach – “Getting in touch with prospects and donors is so much harder than I thought it would be, especially without a mature portfolio. I need to increase my successful contact rates and secure more visits.”
  • Prospect Qualification – “Qualification is tough––especially amidst COVID-19. I’m hesitant to reach out to new donors in these times, and I’m not sure how to do the right research or ask the best questions to learn whether a new donor belongs in my portfolio.”
  • Visits – “I have plenty of wonderful meetings with donors and prospects, but they don’t always yield clear next steps towards moving towards an ask. I want these visits to feel as productive as possible so that we’re not wasting either of our time.”
  • Understanding Donor Motivations and the Ask – “It’s easy for me to articulate the needs of the institution, but I’m not sure if I always understand what motivates my prospect or donor. So, I don’t always know what I should ask for––or when I should ask for it.”
  • Portfolio Management – “My portfolio gets clogged with so many leads. How do I know when it’s time to remove leads from my portfolio?”

We have designed this bootcamp for both new and experienced frontline fundraisers, as well as academic leaders or fundraising volunteers who want to improve or refresh solicitation skills. Advancement leaders who want to train others on these essentials may also wish to attend. This bootcamp will sharpen skills for leadership annual, major, principal, or planned giving.

Follow Through With Success Coaching

Have you ever gone to a training only to find that you came back with great ideas but don’t have the time, support, or skills needed to make the changes?

Academic Impressions has produced thousands of trainings and we have learned that utilizing a coach after attending a conference helps provide accountability and bridges the training with the on-the-ground work of getting the job done.

As a result, we are now offering success coaching on select conferences.

  • Purchase this training + 3 one hour follow up success coaching calls
  • Work with an assigned coach who has extensive experience in higher ed.
  • Get individualized support to help you follow through on what you’ve learned.
  • Workshop your plans, run your ideas by someone and get additional help/practice.

To learn more, contact Moira Killoran at or purchase the Bootcamp + Success Coaching product below.

Hear About the Bootcamp Experience

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“As a brand-new frontline fundraiser, I found the Frontline Fundraising: Essentials of Gift Solicitation with Academic Impressions extremely valuable. Kathy Drucquer Duff is incredibly knowledgeable about the skills necessary to be successful in this type of role and she gave so many valuable pro tips that I will use throughout my career.”

- Katie Morey

Development Officer for ASU Women in Philanthropy, Arizona State University

“This bootcamp was a great reminder of the value in the fundamental steps of qualification and soliciting gifts. It was also a great reminder on best practices and learning new tactics to achieve success. I learned a lot in each session.”

- Sean Burns

Director of Development, UC San Diego

“As someone new to this type of work, the bootcamp gave me a framework and useful tools to begin fundraising from individuals.”

- Pam Seidenman

Development Director, California Policy Lab, UC Berkeley and UCLA


June 30, 2021 | July 8, 2021 | July 15, 2021 | July 22, 2021 | July 29, 2021 | & Aug 5, 2021


Module 1: Preparing for Fundraising Success (June 30, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET)

We will focus on relationship-building as the foundation for gift solicitation, and you will leave with a greater understanding of how to fundraise successfully in today’s world––including how to adjust to a world affected by COVID-19.



Module 2: Outreach (July 8, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET)

This module will help you build confidence in the following essential outreach duties:

  • Planning calls based on prospect data and anchor appointments
  • Gathering vital information for calls
  • Securing initial appointments (including moving through assistants)
  • Overcoming objections

PRACTICE! You will craft an elevator speech and scripts for outreach, and we’ll roleplay cold calls to help you improve your language.



Module 3: Qualification (July 15, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET)

Being able to qualify a prospect in a first meeting is critical. To help you get more from your conversations, this module will offer:

  • Discussion around what it means to truly qualify a prospect
  • Questions that will motivate your prospect
  • Ways to be more rigorous in prospect disqualification
  • Ways to use the qualification meeting to build your overall ask strategy

PRACTICE! You will practice skills around new donor qualification which are especially applicable during COVID-19.



Module 4: Visits (July 22, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET)

The middle part of the donor cycle is pivotal, but many gift officers aren’t as disciplined as they could be in this stage to keep donors moving. This module will help you plan your next visit as part of a larger strategy and will specifically cover how to:

  • Set a desired outcome and ensure your first visit supports it
  • Pivot during meetings
  • Plan your next steps after the visit
  • Adapt donor visits amidst COVID-19

PRACTICE! You will apply probing questions and meeting transitions to a donor visit in order to help move a conversation forward.



Module 5: Understanding Donor Motivations and the Ask (July 29, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET)

We’ll discuss how the groundwork you’ve laid in earlier stages of the cycle will help you understand your donors and solicit them more effectively. This session will specifically cover how to:

  • Better understand donor motivations
  • Identify the best projects, dollar amounts, and timing
  • Apply discipline and rigor to the ask

PRACTICE! You will address common objections, and we’ll discuss together how objections can be the first step to a gift.



Module 6: Portfolio Management (August 5, 2021, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. ET)

In this module, you will learn how to assess and manage your pipeline. Are you prioritizing the right prospects? Do you know your most loyal donors?

PRACTICE! You will identify top prospects from a sample portfolio, and we’ll discuss how ongoing portfolio management will help you better focus your fundraising efforts.


portrait of Kathy Druquer Duff

Kathy Drucquer Duff, CFRE

Coach, Consultant, and Optimizer, KDD Philanthropy

Kathy is an executive advancement officer with over 25 years of experience helping non-profits and institutions transform the way they practice philanthropy. Kathy provides this expertise from her experience in higher education and healthcare, where she developed fundraising plans that have secured gifts of up to nine figures

Read Kathy's full bio here.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Brittany Iwaszkiw

Brittany Iwaszkiw
Learning & Development Manager

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*All-inclusive members receive $250 off of online bootcamp registrations (in addition to the early bird discount if applicable). Please note this discount is not applicable on pre- or post-conference workshops or conference binders.