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Curriculum Session 5

Saturday, February 2 - 1:45-2:45 p.m.

Love Stories: How to Write Effective Fundraising Appeals

Bonnie Meyer

So you've been asked to write the next donor appeal for your organization.  Now you’re staring at that new Word(less) document on your computer screen.

What do you do? Where do you start? 


Word choices are key to effective communications, in both traditional and digital channels. This hands-on session will walk you through eight key steps to IGNITE your copywriting skills. You’ll have the opportunity to work on a project, and courageous participants will be encouraged to share their work with the group.


So let’s get creative. All you need to bring is your passion for your cause!

Capital Campaigns for the 21st Century — What’s New and What’s Not

Andrea Kihlstedt

If your organization is considering a capital campaign, this session will give you food for thought. You’ll learn how changes in technology are making it possible to conduct campaigns more efficiently and effectively. You’ll learn about:

  • The changing roles of capital campaign consultants

  • New ways to create the case for support

  • How virtual meetings can work for your campaign


You will also have the opportunity to pose your campaign questions and get answers from an expert.

Know Enough to Be Dangerous: Gift Planning for Major Gift Officers

Mark Ladendorf

For many fundraisers, gift planning can seem like a complicated mix of endless acronyms— CRATs, CRUTs, CGAs, PIFs, and so on. Yet gift planning options can be a valuable tool for achieving your donor objectives.  This session will explore how to listen for key information in a donor visit that could mean the donor would be a good prospect for a planned gift. We will explore questions you can ask to keep a conversation going to learn important information about the donor that might lead to a substantial gift commitment. This session is not focused on technical elements, but rather on gaining confidence to have gift planning conversations with donors without being an expert.

Session objectives include:

  • Reviewing common donor objectives and how gift planning can help achieve them

  • Exploring a framework to listen for key information during a conversation with donors

  • Learning first-level and follow-up questions to keep a gift planning conversation going

Stop Putting Out the Flame to Effectiveness

Frank Mumford

Where did the day go? Do you feel like you are an effective leader, boss, mentor, or colleague? Every day, is there something you are forgetting or not getting done? Does your internal management of a team detract from your ability to focus both on donors and growth of your employees?

Learn how to understand differences with employees, best time management practices, and how you can spend more time on the things that you feel matter. Stop doing your employees, donors, and self a disservice and learn how to be a more effective leader.

Discovery — How to Learn About a Donor’s Assets

Cathy R. Sheffield

What do you own? Is it valuable (and how do you know)? Has the value appreciated? Do your kids want it? Do you owe anything on it? Are you thinking about selling it? Wouldn’t it be great to just straight up ask the questions that will help you identify assets that might be ripe for charitable giving? When you can’t be that blunt, Cathy R. Sheffield helps you ease into conversations that yield the information you need to develop gift options.

Donor Data Analytics: Analyzing Markets and Data-Driven Communications

John Eggen

This seminar is a case study of how donor data analytics enabled targeted geographic events and data-driven segmented appeals. Through use of heatmapping, development travel and events have been able to identify and focus on key geographic markets. This goals-oriented, data-driven approach guides the planning of events and travel. Donor data has enabled a nimble, data-driven appeal segmentation while improving ROI in general appeals through targeted markets. You will take an in-depth look at how one organization used donor analysis to make the data-driven decisions for appeals, travel, events, and overall communication strategies.

Are You Leading or Managing?

Michael Rottmann

“Leaders are different,” begins Mark Miller’s The Heart of Leadership. “They see the world differently and they cultivate different character traits.” It’s a business fable that explains that “you can have impeccable character — be honest, loyal, dependable, and so on — and still not demonstrate leadership character.” Leadership character sits on top of these foundational traits. Leaders who don’t possess these traits, and others like them, are disqualified before they start. The Heart of Leadership will serve as the basis for our discussion. During this session, we will not only focus on leadership by looking at five lessons taught in the book, but will begin to discuss the difference between being a leader and a manager.

Diffusing The Fire: Effectively Counseling a Variety of Families

Elizabeth Miller

It is your role as the educator to work with a wide variety of students. Unfortunately, some students require special accommodations and have needs that are out of the private preschool comfort level. When you are the first professional to broach this topic, it can be especially personal to parents and families. This workshop will focus on strategies for counseling skills and introducing concern over suspected special needs students to parents or guardians, and using stepping stones to make smooth and meaningful interactions.

Building Better Bridges with Strong Supportive Boards

Ann VanLoenen and Joanne Osterland 

This panel discussion focuses on the challenges faced by those in the roles of Pastor, Administrator, and Board Member and offers suggestions of strategies, resources, and tools that encourage collaboration in building stronger, effective church and school partnerships. You will be encouraged to share your own experiences and discuss ideas.

SPONSORED SESSION: Make Documentation a Pleasure by Connecting to Early Educator Passion!

Geoffrey Nixon

Documentation is easier and more satisfying when it connects with educator passions, when educators see it makes them better, when they can collaborate with peers, and when it improves engagement with parents. Let’s be honest, that’s not the role documentation plays in many early childhood centers today. This session describes a documentation and parent engagement approach out of New Zealand that saves time and helps you reconnect with your passion for education and for your children. We discuss learning stories — a novel way to record learning — and how to make it documenting “for” — an input into next steps for each child — instead of documenting “of” — reporting to a file.


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