Alumni Market Research – Running an in-house alumni survey

David Fisher, Manager, Information Services, Trinity College School

In March 2017, Trinity College School started a 5-year cycle of deep information collection from its alumni. This session will outline lessons learned through our experience. It will address the steps to running a successful alumni survey in-house, including:

  1. What questions to ask
  2. What technology to use
  3. How to maximize participation
  4. Who needs to be involved
  5. How to integrate the data into Raiser’s Edge
  6. How to use the data to support philanthropic programs and services
  7. How much it may cost

Participants in this session will learn:

  1. How to run an alumni census.
  2. How to craft good census questions.
  3. What to do post-census.

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Alumni relations and annual giving: A case study on bridging the gap

Sarah B. MacDonald, Manager of Annual Giving; and Emily LeBlanc, Alumni Officer, Saint Mary’s University

Imagine if there just weren’t those “silos” between departments and groups on campus. That’s what the annual giving staff and alumni team at Saint Mary’s University tried to tackle over the past two years. Explore their successes and challenges as Emily LeBlanc, Alumni Officer, and Sarah MacDonald, Manager of Annual Giving, discuss their experiences of working collaboratively in the hierarchical environment that is higher education. We’ll break out successful policies and practices from their experiences and discuss ways that you can implement some of them sooner, rather than later.

Participants in this session will learn:

  1. How two vital teams can work together on a regular basis to reach each office’s goals.
  2. An experience-based framework to work collaboratively across advancement teams.
  3. Through conversation within the session, how teams and team members can work with one another despite a rigid institutional framework.

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Turning stale into grail: how to engineer ongoing Board rejuvenation, bring new life to the alumni voice and energize senior alumni volunteering

Guy Larocque, Associate Vice President, Alumni Relations, University Relations, University of Saskatchewan; and Alyson Gampel, Associate Director, Alumni Programs, Division of Advancement, York University

Over the past two years, the separately incorporated York University Alumni Association has been integrated with the University. Its leadership has morphed into a Presidential Advisory Committee to intensify engagement and create a greater voice for alumni inside the university administration. Participants in this session will learn what led to this change of structure, whose buy-in was essential throughout and the steps taken to realize the transition. We will also discuss outcomes, including the ongoing Board renewal process enabled by this evolution.

Participants in this session will gain:

  1. An understanding of the pros and cons of a governing vs. advisory alumni Board.
  2. A mapping process to move a Board from governing to advisory.

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Measuring alumni engagement

Colleen Bangs, Director, Alumni Partnerships, University of Calgary; and Kevin MacDonell, Associate Director, Advancement Data & Analysis, Dalhousie University

Tracking engagement is how alumni engagement professionals demonstrate the value and impact of the work we do. However, creating a model is only the first step. It is critical that we are clear about what we are measuring - and for what purpose - and that we have processes in place for both inputting data and analyzing it afterwards.

Through the lens of two universities that have developed and used a measurement model, this session will explore how to demonstrate value to the bottom line and to the organization’s mission by measuring and tracking alumni behaviours at the individual level. Participants in this session will gain insights on how to evolve a vision for measuring meaningful alumni engagement into a working model that not only measures, but informs how we work and moves us forward.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Explore scoring methods and paths to implementation, from the evolution of a great idea into an integral part of work in both alumni engagement and development.
  2. Identify and discuss barriers that can emerge after the inception of an alumni engagement scoring model.

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Comms on a shoestring

Cynthia Breen, Senior Digital Communications Officer, University of Waterloo and Jude Doble, Associate Director, Communications, University of Waterloo

This session will highlight examples of communications projects that were quick, cost effective, and demonstrated a high return. Attendees will hear about the wins and not-quite-wins of Waterloo’s advancement communications projects that were done on a shoestring budget with creative and fun idea sharing.

The session will offer takeaways, lessons learned and examples of the dialogue and interaction each opportunity generated with alumni and donors. Examples include our Call Centre videos, Giving Tuesday hours of matching, and 12 days of kindness.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Learn quick and easy communications ideas with low costs, to engage alumni and donors.
  2. Learn many different ways to measure impact from advancement communications.
  3. Learn from each other through collaborative idea sharing with the entire group, highlighting lessons learned that people can take back to their workplaces.

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From ivory tower to digital public square: our journey to engage our communities

Anju Visen-Singh, Senior Director, Marketing, University of Calgary

Find out how UCalgary’s marketing team built a content- and digital-first marketing campaign that secured buy-in and integration across campus, created champions and demolished the walls between our research and our communities.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Learn about results from UCalgary's experience of marketing its research impact to audiences.
  2. Gain insights into how to build, execute and track a full-scale digital campaign.

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Telling your story to a wider audience: the U of A's brand journalism experiment

Jacqui Tam, Vice-President, University Relations; and Michel Proulx, Director of News and Media Relations, University of Alberta

Who, what, where, when, how and why did one of Canada's top universities launch an independent (separate from brand journalism website? We discuss the strategy, implementation and lessons learned in the transformation of how the institution's story is shared with the world.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Gain an understanding of brand journalism and the role it can play in conveying institutional key messages and building reputation.
  2. Learn to create buy-in and build cross-institutional capacity using the techniques of brand journalism.
  3. Learn that the story is the pitch: the relationship between brand journalism and media relations.

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New-donor stewardship automation: Using marketing tools to deepen engagement

Shelly Steenhorst-Baker, Senior Manager, Advancement, Perimeter Institute

Marketing automation is a category of technology that allows organizations to streamline, automate and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster. Build your understanding of how these tools can be applied in the fundraising context by learning how Perimeter Institute started to use nurture paths to increase the engagement of first-time donors, to increase retention and deepen their commitment to the organization.

Shelly will explain how to identify the best group for automation, and discuss techniques for automation (even if you don't have the specialized technology). Leave with a plan on how to activate your annual giving stewardship at a higher level while actually reducing the work time spent on this group.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Learn about the marketing tools available for automation and how they can be leveraged for fundraising.
  2. Learn how to build a first-time donor stewardship plan for their first year of giving.
  3. Identify ways to maximize engagement with annual giving donors while reducing time spent.

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Donor-centred stewardship

Shannon Wilmot, Development Communications and Strategy Specialist, Carleton University

Great donor stewardship is increasingly personal and delivered by various units and departments across campus. In this session, you will learn how Carleton University developed its customized stewardship programs and discuss best practices in the field. Topics will include personalized stewardship plans, impact reports, use of multimedia, and how to work collaboratively with colleagues across your university. You will also encounter the Stewardship Web, an innovative ecosystem and training tool that makes donor engagement a core part of everyone’s job.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Gain ideas on how to demonstrate impact to top donors.
  2. Learn to recognize areas for improvement in donor engagement.
  3. Be encouraged to develop greater collaboration not only among advancement units, but also with partners across campus.

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Pro-active and personal: Stewardship strategies for your top donors

Susan Wright, Director, Stewardship & Donor Relations, McMaster University

Effective stewardship takes a village.... it also takes time, patience and resources. What if you are lacking in all of these things? Susan will share some top tips for effective, proactive, and highly personalized stewardship for your institution's most generous donors.

This session will:

  1. Define proactive approaches to stewardship.
  2. Review the top 10 tips for creating bespoke stewardship plans.
  3. Review stewardship long-term objectives.

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The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellowship at Loyalist College

Jeremy Braithwaite, Project Lead, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellowship program; and Dianne Spencer, Executive Director, College Advancement & External Relations, Loyalist College

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation Fellowship is a unique skills and technology student/apprentice support system that began at Loyalist College in 2013 as a three-year pilot program. The Foundation's support has grown to provide over $1.3 million to support at least 150 Weston Fellows as well as awareness programs regarding careers in skilled trades.

This program has proven to have a positive effect on student recruitment, retention and program completion. The Fellowship focuses on developing and embracing passion for skills and technology, mentorship and community engagement, academic strength and financial support. We look forward to sharing this unique partnership as a model for similar programs in other colleges.

This session will:

  1. Review the development of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation program, which has been expanded from a 2013 pilot program to provide student support through 2020.
  2. Review partnership development with the Foundation, leading to new applications and financial support.

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Tips, tools and tales: Small team. Big fundraising.

Nancy Handrigan, Executive Director, Philanthropy and Campaign Director, Acadia University

Hear how a small team has tackled aggressive fundraising targets at the same time as mending and building relationships. With minimal personnel and budget, Acadia University has succeeded in surpassing its own annual fundraising record twice in four years, all the while setting the stage for the next comprehensive campaign.

Pick up some tips, grab a few new tools for your own fundraising toolbox, and hear stories about pulling rabbits out of hats. The presenter hopes to hear some new ideas too – come with your own! Geared primarily toward small advancement operations.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Share strategies to maximize development efforts with minimal resources (staff and budget).
  2. Learn creativity and the importance of being nimble.
  3. Hear stories that provide examples of personalized stewardship.

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The advancement/academic partnership: Tools for success in major gifts and campaigns

Andrea Morris, Associate Vice-President (Campaign and Principal Gifts), University of Calgary

Campaigns and annual philanthropic targets are on the rise in post-secondary education in Canada. To achieve these goals, advancement leaders and academics must work in close partnership to plan, execute and evaluate fundraising strategies and programs. However, this partnership can be fraught with challenges.

This session will:

  1. Identify and address the most common pitfalls in working with academics on major gifts.
  2. Clarify the responsibilities of both the academy and the advancement team to set the table for success.

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Stewarding your employees: Employee engagement is key to running a successful shop

Stephanie Corrigan, Acquisition Manager, Development Office; and Kristy Rousseau, CFRE, Director of Development, Laurentian University

Creating a culture of philanthropy is always a discussion topic within an advancement shop, but how important is it to make sure that your employees remain engaged, operate as a team, feel valued and most importantly, have fun and love what they do? The answer is integral to your success.

This session will review how hiring the right people, extensive on-boarding and a constant focus on employee engagement and people management will assist in running a successful advancement department.

Participants in this session will learn about the importance of:

  1. Hiring the right people and building resiliency.
  2. Establishing trust and remaining transparent.
  3. Employee engagement, recognition and rewards.

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Integrated acquisition campaigns: Challenges and successes

Laura Clark, Director, Annual Giving; and Emma Nguyen, Director, Online Marketing and Communications, University of Toronto

Every year 20% of annual donors and revenue are lost through attrition. Laura and Emma were tasked with developing U of T’s first fully integrated strategic acquisition campaign to tackle this problem. This presentation will discuss how, now in year two, social values marketing and other tools are used to define the target audience. It will show the innovative communications that include direct mail, e-mail, telefund and ads on Google, social media and in the alumni magazine. Most importantly, Laura and Emma will share the results, challenges and successes they faced during the process, and their plans for what’s next for the campaign.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Understand the process and development of an acquisition campaign at a university.
  2. Learn the various methods of integrated communication channels.
  3. Understand the challenges and successes of an acquisition campaign.

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Where in the world are our #ProudlyUNB alumni? How a creative UNB caricature helped locate and engage UNB alumni around the world

Natasha Rego, Young Alumni Coordinator; and Jenna Kennedy, Alumni Advancement Officer – Strategic Engagement, University of New Brunswick

Maintaining connections with alumni once they leave campus can be a major challenge; particularly in the early years following graduation, when alumni are relocating and their contact information is ever-changing. Through an innovative digital marketing campaign, UNB’s alumni office developed a fun caricature named Freddy John, who set out on a worldwide adventure to locate and engage with UNB’s “missing” alumni. He “traveled” the world over a 10-month period, connecting with UNB alumni through a series of digital communication pieces, collecting updated contact information from 6,000+ alumni in over 90 countries.

This session will cover:

  1. Getting started: How to encourage alumni to update their contact information and keep them engaged once they've connected.
  2. Delivering the message: Developing a comprehensive digital marketing plan to connect with alumni around the world.
  3. Now what? Using campaign analytics to strengthen ongoing alumni engagement and communication.

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Student-to-alumni-engagement: From a stand-alone party to a fulsome program

Alyson Gampel, Associate Director, Alumni Programs

A pilot expansion of York University's "GRADitude" activity from a stand-alone celebration event to a purposeful program is complete. GRADitude started as “an annual event that gives the University and its leading alumni contributors the opportunity to recognize, connect with and inspire the top athletes, scholars and contributors to student life among York’s graduating and upper-year students.” Now, the expanded “Student to Alumni GRADitude Program” seeks to help prepare graduating students to face the post-studies labour market and launch their careers, by connecting meaningfully with alumni who guide them. This offers a win-win solution to both student and young-alumni engagement.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Understand the purposes of student to young-alumni engagement.
  2. Learn how York U built upon a successful event to create a fulsome program accomplishing multiple goals.
  3. Gain ideas that can be leveraged by their institutions and learn some of the strategic and tactical challenges that York has faced.

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#UWaterloo60: Celebrating a milestone anniversary with your campus and community

Kelly McManus, Senior Director, Community Relations & Events, University of Waterloo

Celebrating a milestone anniversary is a time for pride and engagement - and your entire campus and community have a role to play. Learn how to make room for everyone to celebrate (aka: have fun while negotiating politics); host special events and leverage existing ones (aka:  manage budget, workload, and expectations); and develop a cohesive, creative communications strategy (aka: keep people excited for 365 days). From a kick-off community lecture with Edward Snowden to a year-end President's gala, and everything in between, we'll share the University of Waterloo experience.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Learn how to plan and deliver a creative, high-impact anniversary/ milestone celebration for their
  2. Learn to develop and implement a comprehensive integrated marketing and communications strategy for an anniversary/ milestone celebration.
  3. Identify ways to engage diverse audiences and stakeholders, both internal and external to their

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Making metrics matter: The Queen's experience

Leigh Kalin, Executive Director, Development & Campaign; and Tim Wowk, Associate Director, Prospect Research & Management Group, Queen’s University

Establishing a metrics-driven fundraising program at a non-profit is not for the faint of heart.  Operational, structural and cultural challenges can derail the best of intentions and technology.  The challenges to implementing a metrics program are particularly acute at the post-secondary level, where decentralization, silos and dotted-line reporting are the new norm. In this kind of environment, how do you make metrics matter?

This presentation will examine the development and implementation of a fundraising metrics program at Queen’s University. Spanning work done over several years, this presentation will take an in-depth and real-world look at the challenges, strategies and initial outcomes of the Queen’s metrics program.      

This session will:

  • Discuss the challenges to implementing a broad-based fundraising metrics program at a decentralized post-secondary institution.
  • Identify strategies for overcoming obstacles and developing meaningful fundraising metrics.
  • Show early metrics and goal-setting successes.

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Lessons in strategic community building: Taking engagement to new heights during alumni UBC 100

Steve Kennedy, Director of Marketing & Communications, University of British Columbia

From May 2017 – May 2018, alumni UBC celebrated its 100th year as the alumni association for UBC's 325,000 + graduates in more than 140 countries. Coming off of the heels of UBC's institutional centennial in 2015 - 16 created challenges in message differentiation and raised the question of whether alumni UBC should be recognizing its 100th year milestone at all. Ultimately, an initiative was launched that included the goal of creating 100,000 alumni connections during the year.

In this session, participants will learn about research, strategy, programming, outcomes and lessons learned for higher engagement that are relevant even in non-anniversary years.

Participants in this session will learn:

  • How internal stakeholder input and alumni focus group research insights helped shape strategy, and how the strategy was built to include actionable initiatives for alumni engagement.
  • The value of an emotional proposition and compelling creative to build community and increase engagement.
  • How outcomes include legacy benefits beyond alumni UBC's 100th year.

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Market Research 201: Turning information into intelligence

Cynthia Strawson, Director Advancement Marketing; and Robert Moyles, Executive Director, Advancement Strategic Communications, University of Alberta

Baseline or benchmark? Apple or orange? Market research takes many forms, but there are established rules of thumb that will help you design the right research approach for your program. Learn how to gather evidence and use it in your pursuit to “make it better” by tailoring your communications and marketing strategies for your donor and alumni audiences. Establish consistent and meaningful communications and marketing metrics, identify baseline measures, and articulate specific goals. Only then can you really tell if your marketing and communications efforts are working. (Spolier alert: This also helps to identify what isn’t working!)

Participants in this session will:

  • Understand the principles of market research.
  • Learn how to set consistent and meaningful communications and marketing metrics.
  • Learn how to track and share information to help your leadership team make decisions.

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Building a bridge to better alumni engagement requires the right tools

Cynthia Strawson, Director Advancement Marketing; and Gregory Latham, Director of Alumni Engagement, University of Alberta

Engaging an alumni population to build strong affinity is key to a successful advancement campaign. A clear pathway to building that affinity among a large and diverse alumni body can be overwhelming. Learn how the University of Alberta has developed a new approach to alumni engagement using a simple behavioural index, enabling programs that deepen relationships with our alumni.

Participants in this session will:

  • Understand the elements that contribute to an alumnus’s affinity to their institution.
  • Learn how to identify audience segments based on life stage and affinity.
  • Learn how to apply life stage and affinity to current and future alumni programming.

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The power of language

Oonagh Proudfoot, Senior Alumni Officer, Acadia University; and Tom Meadus, Director of Advancement, New Brunswick Community College

The world of advancement brings with it work and conversations with a wide variety of people: old and young; educated and uneducated; wise and foolish; affluent and poor; all races, all religious backgrounds; all experiences, attitudes and opinions. On any given day, you have no idea who you will end up talking to or how you will be spoken to.

This open sharing session is designed for a candid discussion about the language and actions that all too often fill our daily work lives. We hope to provide a safe and open forum to share and hear examples of experiences that our colleagues have had, while not spending too much time discussing the “whats”; but more time on the “now whats”. It is important to share examples to create an awareness as well as an understanding of tolerance levels.

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Are they really that into you? How to use an affinity score to build your donor pipeline

Marie Perron, Assistant Dean, Advancement, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences; and Cynthia Strawson, Director, Advancement Marketing, University of Alberta

An alumnus’s past behaviour is a key indicator of their future behaviour. Knowing that past behaviour – and how much they actually like their alma mater – can be a gold mine for front-line cultivation, especially when considered along with a donor's capacity rating. Learn how one Canadian university built an affinity score that fundraisers use to identify prospects, deepen cultivation and expand their donor pipeline.

Participants in this session will:

  • Understand the difference between a prospect rating score and an affinity score.
  • Understand the attributes of a prospect’s affinity.

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The changing media landscape, and what it means for you and your organization

Eric Collard, Managing Partner, Ottawa Media Group; and Patrick Charette, Director of Institutional Communications, University of Ottawa

Traditional media (think Toronto Star & CBC) have seen a massive change in the way they operate over the past 10 years, and this has changed the news cycle dramatically. Your organization could benefit from finding out about the changing landscape and how it impacts how media use their resources on a day-to-day basis.

In this session, Eric and Patrick will chat about the major drivers of these changes, and then present some industry-specific case studies on how higher education organizations can adapt to and benefit from this new landscape.

This session will explore:

  • Current opportunities and challenges specific to traditional media.
  • What media are now looking for in story ideas.
  • Some practical tips to approach media online.

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Encouraging play in the sandbox (by thinking outside the box): Building a campus-wide alumni culture

Natalie Cook Zywicki, Associate Executive Director; and Fred Lee, Director, Alumni Engagement, University of British Columbia

Although alumni engagement models are different across faculties and institutions, there are definite advantages to working collaboratively. Come hear how the University of British Columbia has set up its alumni program to maximize collaboration and innovation, and to encourage strategic partnerships across campus.

This session is ideal for alumni professionals looking to deepen relationships across their institution and to strengthen success and participation in their alumni programs.

Participants in this session will learn about:

  • Doing more with less.
  • Building greater capacity for alumni programs.
  • Deepening relationships with key stakeholders: Deans, Directors, senior university leadership.

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Engaging with young alumni - NBCC’s greatest hits and outstanding failures connecting with recent grads

Shawn Amos, Alumni Coordinator, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC)

It is no secret that engaging recent grads is critical to long-term success. For NBCC’s alumni association, which only began in 2013, new grads are all we have. Focusing on engaging with young alumni has led to some interesting hits and surprising misses.

Participants in this session will:

  • Understand NBCC’s challenge to reach a very young alumni base and why this is critical.
  • Review some simple ideas that have worked well to allow NBCC to stay connected.
  • Learn from our mistakes in a discussion of failed attempts at engagement.

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Getting your digital data to work together

Shane Riczu, Digital Planning Lead, University of Alberta

Few marketing questions are as vexing as “how is our website doing?” We know that counting page views and time on page often doesn’t tell the whole story. This session uses event marketing to break down each step needed to find useful answers about your website’s performance, using free tools that everyone can access. We’ll walk you through defining a clear goal, setting up event triggers in Google Analytics, using UTM tracking to know where your traffic comes from, and combining data into usable reports using Google Sheets. Some assembly required, but we’ll provide the instruction manual.

Participants in this session will:

  • Understand the steps to build a report that connects marketing activity to website goals.
  • Learn about the free tools they can use to put all the pieces together.
  • Define one clear goal for their own website and outline the steps needed to track it.

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The end of trends: Navigating the new era of uncertainty

Sue Cunningham, President and CEO, Council for Advancement and Support of Education


From political upheaval to campus unrest, those working to advance education face a new narrative: Recruiting students, engaging alumni and key stakeholders, and raising private funds amid increasingly uncertain and unstable times. CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham will put this “new normal" in context and discuss its implications for your work. Spoiler alert: Amid uncertainty comes opportunity, for those willing to embrace it.

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Meaningful, purpose-driven events

Lynne Wester

Whether part of a large organization or a member of a small team, you’ll gain valuable insight from this hands-on learning experience. We will examine the changing landscape of our attendees’ needs, and discuss how to design memorable event experiences for them that communicate the mission of your organization, and more.

As organizations evolve, so should our events, but often we’re still frozen in time like a “banquet” dinner. Liberate your events stuck in the past with these innovative methods, and warm up to amazing experiences that will melt even the coldest of hearts.

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How creative thank-yous and cultivating an attitude of gratitude can boost fundraising

Lynne Wester

Most nonprofits are leaking donors like crazy. They acquire; they don’t retain. On average, folks lose 8 out of 10 donors after the first gift. While donors want to change the world with their gifts, most want something else too. It’s intangible, but it’s important. And if you won’t give it to them, someone else will.

The important social acknowledgement and identity reinforcement that comes from a heartfelt, thoughtful “thank you” cannot be overestimated. Truly, how and when you thank your donors can make or break your entire fundraising program.

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Major gift discovery: Engaging donors in building ideas for maximum societal impact

Stephen A. Harding, Assistant Vice-President, Development, Dalhousie University

Big ideas that require big investment must begin with involving potential donors early.  Donors are increasingly looking to get behind ideas that have an impact they can experience. Endowments play a role, but many donors are looking to help us achieve societal results in the near-term. This session will cover strategies to engage donors early, in a proven discovery process that will help feed your major gift pipeline. You will also hear examples of some recent Atlantic Canadian success stories that are resulting in societal impact.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Learn strategies to engage donors in a discovery process to uncover interest in ideas that have impact.
  2. Uncover techniques to increase the number of new donors in the discovery phase of your major gift pipeline.
  3. Gain exposure to case study examples that showcase the formulation of big idea projects that involve donors and are making a societal impact.

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Engaging millennials:  From the perspective of a Boomer

MJ MacLellan, Director of Alumni Affairs, St. Francis Xavier University

With almost 50% of StFX graduates from the class of 2000 onward, millennial engagement strategies are critical. How do to build these relationships and make a difference?  How does a 50+ year-old alumni director make those connections? It’s all in using our strengths and weaknesses to best advantage.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Identify ways to stay engaged and up to date on the language of another generation.
  2. Learn to recognize personal and team strengths.
  3. Learn how encouraging staff collaboration and sharing help bridge communication divides.

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Collaboration over competition: A collaborative campaign case study

Andrea McManus, Partner, ViTrēo Group; and Cheryl Hamelin, Executive Director of the Resolve Campaign

Collaborative fundraising is gaining popularity, and the opportunities to reach new heights through partnership are real. In this session, Andrea McManus and Cheryl Hamelin will share the strategies, outcomes, challenges, and triumphs of the Resolve Campaign – a partnership of nine respected Calgary social service agencies that have come together along with the government to create affordable rental housing, with supports, for up to 3,000 vulnerable and homeless Calgarians.

Participants in this session will:

  • Learn how to translate the practical solutions and approaches of the Resolve model to make collaboration work in both intra- and inter-institution environments.
  • Understand how to expand traditional stewardship and engage in major-gift work on behalf of multiple partners in a way that is both donor-centric and fair to the collaborators.
  • Learn what to anticipate and how to prepare for the added complexities of working together.

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Are you getting the most out of your alumni affinity partnerships?

Moderator:Robb Volpato, MBNA Centralized Marketing Groups, Partnership Management & Sales

Panelists: Alyson Gampel, Associate Director, Alumni Programs, Division of Advancement, York University;

Tom Meadus, Director of Advancement, New Brunswick Community College;

Tim Ambrose, Alumni Outreach Coordinator, Fanshawe College;

Colleen Bangs, Director, Alumni Partnerships, University of Calgary

Join us for an interactive panel discussion with four institutions that are maximizing the potential of their affinity partnerships. Alumni leaders from Fanshawe College, New Brunswick Community College, University of Calgary and York University share their advice and strategies. In this session, facilitated by Robb Volpato from MBNA, our panelists will share how they leverage their affinity partnerships to improve alumni engagement, enhance the quality of their alumni database and even support the launch of a new alumni association.  If you are responsible for alumni engagement, you won't want to miss this one!

Participants in this panel discussion will learn:

  • What a successful partnership looks like.
  • Techniques now being used to drive alumni engagement and affinity partnership growth.
  • How to get the most from your affinity partnerships.

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Investing in you. New approaches in talent management for advancement professionals

Andrea Morris, Associate Vice-President (Campaign and Principal Gifts), University of Calgary; and Stephen A. Harding, Assistant Vice-President, Development, Dalhousie University

Team building is one of the most difficult aspects of leadership in advancement. Particularly challenging is the recruitment and retention of professional major gifts staff who play a critical role in meeting our ambitious philanthropic targets. Join two seasoned advancement leaders for an interactive discussion about strategies to meet the talent challenge in a competitive environment. They will also take questions and provide candid advice for those looking to grow a career in major gifts development.

Participants in this session will:

  • If you are an advancement professional looking for guidance on how to develop your own talent or grow your career in major gifts, this session will provide clear insight into the skills and attributes needed to advance.
  • Learn about current best practices for investing in major gifts talent, setting them up for success, and developing loyalty to your program.
  • Hear and share stories of success and failure in team building and talent development, and get real-time advice on issues facing your organization. Note: This session will focus on major gift talent development, but will benefit all advancement professionals.

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Alumni career services in the Age of Disruption

Moderator: Shelley Huxley, Director, Alumni Engagement, Brock University 


Gabrielle Korn, Managing Director, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, McGill University;

Arlene Olynyk, Manager, Alumni Relations, Thompson Rivers University;

Sarah Dawson, Alumni Career Coach, Western University

Over the past decade, post-secondary institutions have taken greater interest in the career outcomes of graduates. Rapid technological advances over the same period have significantly changed the future of jobs. Our campuses are beginning to redefine the future-readiness of students, with the growing need to “reskill” alumni. What is the impact of this Age of Disruption on alumni career services? What steps might we take to keep alumni career services relevant, especially in the context of advancement priorities?

Participants in this panel discussion will learn:

  • How to build career programing that is valuable to your alumni across experience levels and industries, and scalable to your budget.
  • How to create partnerships and leverage opportunities to build better programming that aligns with your engagement goals and responds to shifting career trends.
  • About platforms to help alumni connect in an easy, effective and manageable way.

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Engaging leadership: Strategies to involve board and committee members in development

Moderator: Anne (Coyle) Melanson, BPR, CFRE, Bloom Non-Profit Consulting Group Inc.

Panelists: Sherry Porter, Board member, Dalhousie University; John Lindsay, Jr., Chairman of East Port Properties; and Frank Lockington, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Community College Foundation

This session will be split between a best practices overview presentation, and a moderated panel discussion. Anne (Coyle) Melanson will deliver a 20-minute presentation on best practices in engagement and support of board, development committee and alumni committee volunteers in the development process. The focus will be on customizing engagement strategies to the preferences and aptitudes of volunteers.

The presentation will be followed by a 30-minute moderated panel discussion featuring 3 experienced board/committee level volunteers from CCAE member institutions, who will be asked to share their experience and perspectives in working alongside advancement professionals in fundraising.

Participants in this session will:

  • Learn how to successfully engage leadership volunteers in major gift fundraising.
  • Understand the differing roles leadership volunteers can play in furtherance of institutional development.
  • Hear from post-secondary board and volunteer leaders about preferences and best practices.

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Hope won’t cure your donor relations problems, but a stewardship audit might!

Andrea McManus, Partner, ViTrēo Group

If stewardship is a critical phase of the fund development process, why is it often a neglected afterthought? In this session, you will learn how to transform stewardship from a burden and a chore to an integral part of the fundraising process – a process that is ultimately about building relationships and maintaining them over time. Take the Stewardship Audit Self-Assessment quiz and learn how your institution can nurture donors to their highest, most meaningful and impactful levels of philanthropy.   

Participants in this session will:

  • Complete a simple assessment to determine the maturity and effectiveness of their institution’s stewardship process.
  • Learn how to create a comprehensive stewardship plan that engages various departments and faculties.
  • Discover how stewardship can be used as a tool to satisfy the rights and expectations of donors, while enhancing culture and fundraising success.

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Relations with our Indigenous communities

Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), University of Manitoba

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