Transformational Gifts: Attaining the Gift of a Lifetime

Transformational Gifts: Attaining the Gift of a Lifetime

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Navigating a transformational gift can be one of the most important and impactful events for your institution. How are you engaging your top donors?

Dexter Bailey

Dexter brings the leadership perspective, as well as his skills in establishing a cohesive internal vision to match with a donor’s intent. He gives expert advice pertaining to proposal development.

Kate Harrison

Kate has built a superior portfolio of donor stewardship work in her ten years of experience in higher education. Her priority is to share that there are many opportunities to steward donors and thank them along their giving journey, and that institutions have a golden opportunity to show the real and lasting impacts of philanthropy.

Mitchell Spearman

Mitchell brings frontline experience and top-tier cultivation and solicitation skills. His emphasis is on ensuring cross-campus collaboration to secure the success of a transformational gift.


Learn strategies for cultivating and soliciting one of your top donors in a way that can alter the future of your institution. Understanding what motivates and compels donors to make a transformational gift is a key aspect that is missing in many shops. This unique learning experience will help you successfully navigate the internal and external complexities of this significant undertaking in a way that advances the vision of your institution. You will learn how to:

  • Inspire donors to make a transformational gift
  • Develop a successful proposal
  • Cultivate and solicit donors with transformational capacity
  • Implement a stewardship plan for transformational donors

Included with your registration is a collection of resources, action-planning worksheets, and stewardship tools that will be invaluable as you develop your transformational gift strategy.


Come With a Donor in Mind

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 strategy for their institutions.


Limited Attendance

In order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, we have intentionally designed this Virtual Training to have a limited number of total attendees. To ensure access from both paying participants and also from those who have an All-Inclusive membership, when the membership cap is reached, only paying participants can register after that point (while spaces are still available). If you have questions about whether this program is right for you, please contact us.


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 Brittany Iwaszkiw at or purchase the Virtual Conference + Success Coaching product below.

The Academic Impressions Online Learning Experience

Intentionally Designed
Online Learning

Our virtual trainings go far beyond just replicating PowerPoint presentations online: these experiences are intentionally designed to give you the kind of robust and dynamic learning experience you’ve come to expect from Academic Impressions. These trainings provide you with an active learning environment and an online space where you can explore ideas, get inspired by what your peers are doing, and understand the range of possibilities around a certain topic. You will leave these sessions with practical solutions that you can take back to your team or task force.

What you will get:

  • A dynamic, interactive, and high-touch virtual learning experience designed to engage and set you up for growth
  • Seamless online face-time, networking, group work, and Q&A opportunities from the comfort of your own workspace
  • Practical takeaways and hands-on knowledge
  • Guidance from vetted subject matter experts
  • Unlimited access to all recorded online sessions

See What Our Attendees are Saying

"At first, I was skeptical that a virtual conference was capable of being both engaging and informational - but Academic Impressions has mastered it! The 3-day online event was structured in a creative way that all participants had multiple opportunities to interact with each other and the presenters. No one's questions went unheard or unanswered. Thank you for this great experience, it has changed my view of virtual conferences and I look forward to attending more in the future."

- Desiree Ford, Digital Communications Manager, Binghamton University

“The virtual conference has been amazing. The presenters have all been great and the information they’ve provided is going to help us better use our social media. Even though this conference had to be virtualized due to COVID-19, the online format has been set up in a way that we can all collaborate and share ideas. I’m very eager to take what I’ve learned back to campus and start implementing new ideas.”

- Chris Forde, Coordinator of Marketing & Public Information, Lincoln Trail College


Day 1 | All Times Eastern


Technology Check
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.



Opening Comments and Introductions
10:45 - 11:00 a.m.



The Transformational Donor Cycle
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Our expert faculty will share their experiences in cultivating, soliciting, securing, and stewarding a transformational gift during a global pandemic. Through these insights, you will gain a deeper understanding of the transformational donor cycle and the strategies associated with the process.



Building and Aligning the Vision
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
A transformational vision is one that combines a donor’s passion and ability with an institution’s mission and opportunity. This vision is complex, yet highly personalized, and is a process that needs deliberate planning from the start.



1:00 - 1:15 p.m.



Top Tier Cultivation and Solicitation
1:15 - 2:15 p.m.

The cultivation and solicitation process requires strategy different from that of the more common major gifts. Our expert instructor will guide you as they outline the components to top-tier cultivation and solicitation.



Internal Partnerships
2:15 - 3:00 p.m.
Many internal partnerships must be utilized in order to execute a successful transformational gift proposal and to avoid conflict or insufficient follow-up. Additionally, each partner must have clearly defined roles throughout each stage of the process. We will outline the roles of university leadership, development, and academic administration, to better understand how to uncover a transformational vision for your institution.



3:00 - 3:15 p.m.



Confronting Issues of Inequity in Fundraising
3:15 - 4:15 p.m.
As a fundraiser working with diverse prospects and donors, you will likely encounter racism, sexism, and other issues of inequity. How can you address these issues as productively as possible, whether through conversations with your managers or your donors/ prospects? You will leave with suggestions on how to engage in these conversations and connect them to your work.



Day One Wrap-up, Q&A
4:15 - 4:30 p.m.



Optional Networking
4:30 - 5:00 p.m.


Day 2 | All Times Eastern


Technology Check
10:30 - 10:45 a.m.



Day 2 Welcome
10:45 - 11:00 a.m.



Developing the Proposal
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Transformational gift proposals take craft, precision, and significant detail to demonstrate the future return on investment. We will detail the expectations of high-level wealth donors and the critical components of successful proposals.



Donor Relations for Top Tier Donors
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.
Our expert instructor will outline the style and level of stewardship that is most effective with transformational gift donors. The lessons included will provide an understanding of how this level of stewardship is critical for securing a transformational gift and cultivating the next gift.



Faculty Q&A and Wrap Up
1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


portrait of Dexter Bailey

Dexter Bailey

Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Relations, California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Dexter's leadership perspective and ability to establish a cohesive internal vision that aligns with a donor’s passions will yield expert advice that you can apply to your own proposal development.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Kate Harrison

Kate Harrison

Director, Donor Relations, University of Texas at Austin

Kate Harrison has built a superior portfolio of donor stewardship work in her ten years of experience in Higher Education. This includes launching award-winning volunteer programs, crafting bespoke donor engagements and executing spectacular events and milestone celebrations.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.

Portrait of Mitchell Spearman

Mitchell Spearman

Senior Director, Principal Gifts, University of Texas at Austin

Mitchell has successfully brought transformational gifts to his institutions through a mix of his solicitation and cultivation strategies, and bringing the right people to the table.

Read Speaker's Full Bio.


Can't attend the conference? Buy the binder.

Questions About the Event?

Portrait of Brittany Iwaszkiw

Brittany Iwaszkiw
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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*There are limited spots available for All-Inclusive Members to register for Virtual Conferences for free in 2020. Each virtual conference has a registration cap in order to ensure a high-quality learning experience, personalized attention, networking and interactivity. If the cap has been met, All-Inclusive Members can register with a $250 discount if space is available.

Please note the member discount is not applicable on conference binders or success coaching.