2017 Annual Giving Congress Sessions

Sessions and Presenter Profiles


How many times do I have to ask?
A case study in walking the line between nagging and reminding donors to renew

Meghan Whitfield, Associate Director; Nick Strazzabosco, Business Analyst; and Jennifer Murray, Development Assistant, Annual Giving, University of Waterloo

Research tells us to ask donors multiple times for gifts, but we also hear that charities ask too often. The University of Waterloo’s Annual Giving team went from 1 or 2 asks a fiscal year to 10. At the same time, they combined their renewal process for the Annual Fund and Leadership Annual Giving programs. Associate Director Meghan Whitfield, Business Analyst Nick Strazzabosco, and Development Assistant Jennifer Murray will discuss the cycle timing, content, some of the unexpected complications, and the resulting 5% increase in donor retention.

Attendees will learn:

  • The relevance of increasing the number of renewal asks to improving retention rates (along with other factors).
  • The complexity of changing renewal patterns in a large shop.
  • How these changes might be easier to facilitate in a smaller shop.


Meghan Whitfield, Associate Director, Annual Giving, University of Waterloo

After studying fund development as part of her cultural studies program in university, Meghan started her career in fundraising at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She was integral to the launch of the ROM’s Young Patron’s Circle, a dynamic program designed to engage a younger demographic in philanthropy. Shifting to higher education, Meghan moved to the University of Toronto, where she worked to help alumni fulfil their philanthropic goals. Most recently she has continued this work at her alma mater, the University of Waterloo. Meghan holds the CFRE designation and received CASE’s Rising Star Award in 2015.


Jennifer Murray, Development Assistant, Annual Giving, University of Waterloo

Jennifer Murray has been in Annual Giving at the University of Waterloo for 2 years. Her B.A. from Waterloo included a non-profit management specialization. Jennifer has spent the previous 12 years at other non-profits, working on grant writing and a capital campaign at Hospice of Waterloo Region, followed by roles in events and sponsorship, volunteer management and education programing at Family and Children Services of Waterloo Region Foundation and The Arthritis Society.


Nick Strazzabosco, Business Analyst, Annual Giving, University of Waterloo

Nick Strazzabosco has worked in fundraising for 15 years. He has expertise in a variety of areas, including prospect research, data analysis, proposal writing, and annual giving.



Thinking about a digital strategy? Take the leap. It’s easier than you think.


Ayesha Mayan, Senior Consultant, and Anita Nielsen, KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.)

Carving out your digital strategy in a paper-based world can be a challenge.  Changing trends offer overwhelming options that can lead to choice paralysis. Join Anita and Ayesha for a look at some inspiring and innovative examples of pairing digital solicitation and stewardship strategies with the tried and true already in place at your organization. With a little creativity and authentic messaging, you will engage your donors like never before. And whether you come from a small, medium or large shop, these strategies will resonate with your budget.

Attendees will learn:

  • The benefits of multi-channel solicitation and stewardship strategies.
  • Simple but innovative digital applications to build long-term relationships with donor
  • Some “dos and don’ts” in crowdfunding.


Ayesha Mayan, KCI

[bio to come]


Anita Nielsen, KCI

[bio to come]



Innovation and integration: A strategic acquisition campaign case study

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 start to solve this problem. They will discuss social values marketing and other tools used to define target audience, and show their innovative communications including direct mail, e-mail, telefund; and ads on Google, social media and in the alumni magazine. Laura and Emma will share the results, challenges and successes they faced, and their plans for what’s next for the campaign.

Attendees will:

  • Learn how to use social values marketing and other tools to define a target audience and case for support for non-donors.
  • See print and digital samples of the innovative campaign.
  • Learn about successes, challenges, and lessons learned and results from U of T's first multi-channel strategic acquisition campaign.


Laura Clark, Director, Annual Giving, University of Toronto

Laura Clark has always been a storyteller. After the initial panic of graduating with a degree in theatre and no plan, she discovered that fundraising was the perfect way to unite her interests in stories, data and what makes people tick. Focusing on annual and leadership giving throughout her 15-year career, Laura brings a unique blend of frontline fundraising, annual giving strategy and direct marketing agency experience to her role as Director, Annual Giving at the University of Toronto. She is a proud first-generation university graduate from Queen’s University, and a graduate of Humber College’s Fundraising Management program.


Emma Nguyen, Director, Online Marketing and Communications, University of Toronto

Emma Nguyen was born a fundraiser and accidentally became a digital marketing expert. From the time she was able to walk, Emma was selling raffle tickets and raising money for local organizations. After graduating from Humber College’s Fundraising Management program, she began to fundraise professionally at War Child Canada. Working in a smaller non-profit, Emma turned to digital channels to raise funds. She moved on to a role as a consultant for hjc, a digital consulting agency for non-profits. Now, as Director, Online Marketing and Communications at U of T, Emma oversees alumni and advancement digital channels. 



Tag - you're it! Building a culture of philanthropy on campus and beyond

Sharline Doss, Development Officer, Annual Giving;  Danielle Braun, Alumni Officer, Students and Young Alumni; and Jennifer Caldwell, Communications & Design Specialist, Wilfrid Laurier University

This session presents an annual giving, alumni relations and communications perspective on leveraging student-volunteers to build a culture of philanthropy on campus and beyond. Learn how Laurier has seen success in working with its Student Alumni Association to engage student volunteers in an ongoing efforts to solicit, steward, celebrate, and educate donors.

Attendees will:

  • Discover the ways, from concept to implementation, that Wilfrid Laurier University has worked successfully to build a culture of philanthropy on campus and beyond.
  • Learn how Laurier is seeing success using a multi-channel, AG-AR and Communications integrated approach to engage student volunteers in fundraising and awareness building efforts.
  • Learn and share tips, tricks and ideas of how to celebrate donors with the help of student volunteers, while educating current students about the role philanthropy plays in their university experience.


Sharline Doss, Development Officer, Annual Giving, Wilfrid Laurier University

A proud Laurier alumna, Sharline is the Development Officer overseeing Community Campaign. Celebrated daily for her relationship-building skills and her "can do" attitude, Sharline is the colleague you call in when you need to get something done. With nearly a decade of experience working in post-secondary education, Sharline transitioned to her current role last summer. Previously, she worked on Laurier's alumni relations team and managed the Student Philanthropy portfolio.


Danielle Braun, Alumni Officer, Students and Young Alumni, Wilfrid Laurier University

Danielle joined the Alumni Relations team at Laurier last September and is currently the Alumni Officer responsible for Students and Young Alumni. Another proud Laurier alumni, Danielle is the colleague to call on if you're looking for fresh, strategic ideas. She is truly committed to driving the planning and execution of student and alumni outreach projects and programs, including the Student Alumni Association and the programs this innovative group implements on campus to help build a culture of philanthropy.


Jennifer Caldwell, Communications & Design Specialist, Wilfrid Laurier University

Jen helped to design the first Tag ever printed at Laurier and has gone on to work with both the AR and AG teams to use her communications skills to further expand and improve on Laurier's ongoing efforts to build a culture of philanthropy on campus through Laurier’s amazing Student Alumni Association.

National Partners


2017 CCAE National Conference Sponsors



Manulife  Tempo Framing


Canada Life 



The Offord Group Tourism Hamilton



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 Global Philanthropic