Sessions & Presenters

Advancement Services Workshop

Your next system(s)

Karl Otto, Consultant

With software and data, the only constant is change – and that has been even more true in the last 5 years, with the proliferation of niche solutions and hosted environments; software as a service. Technology and data professionals spend increasing time evaluating new systems for adoption – or possibly even evaluating technology that someone has already adopted and is now asking forgiveness for, rather than permission.

It is more important than ever to have a core set of lenses and criteria as you select the best solutions for your institution. Is on-premise or SaaS best for you? What type of data will be handled and how mature is your governance? How capable is the underlying technology? Does your organization have sufficient knowledge of its own processes? What will be your system of record, and how will data be exchanged? And, last but not least, what is the legal and compliance framework in which you need to operate?

This session will provide broad exposure to tools and schools of thought – some of which have existed for some time and just need updating – to help make these determinations. While we have a lot to cover, there will be frequent breaks for discussion and examples as we work through the suggested frameworks.

Participants in this session will learn about:

  1. Approaches to software acquisition.
  2. Information-gathering requirements.
  3. Mapping organizational needs to potential solutions.


Karl Otto, Consultant

Karl Otto has over two decades of experience in the fundraising world, primarily in systems and operations, but also as a front line fundraiser. Currently working as an independent consultant, he was most recently the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer of the University of Oregon. Mr. Otto holds a B.S. in Management of Information Systems and Analytics from Colorado State University. 



Think data privacy and security: Managing risks within the advancement office

Isabelle Roy, Director, Prospecting and Pipeline Management, Records, and Data Governance, McGill University

The use of data is becoming increasingly important in advancement offices as we are encouraged to become more “data-driven”. Whether it is used to better engage constituents or to support decision making, more staff now need access to data in order to perform their role. Often, data has been made available on demand through self-service tools and reports, making it more difficult to ensure that it is used, shared and stored in accordance with data privacy and security policies.


The session will examine the challenges of balancing the demand for increased access to data with the need to protect the organization’s data and remain a good steward of the information donors have entrusted to us.

Participants in this session will learn about:

  1. How to develop a plan to identify and mitigate risks, with associated policies, procedures and controls.
  2. Ideas for developing greater awareness and ownership of data privacy and security principles within your organization.


Isabelle Roy, Director, Prospecting and Pipeline Management, Records, and Data Governance, McGill University

Isabelle Roy leads activities related to prospect research, data mining, prospect management, and biographical data augmentation initiatives. This includes developing and maintaining systems, policies, and procedures to facilitate proactive identification and deployment of potential donors; to improve integrity of key contact data for the University’s alumni and other constituents; and to develop and produce regular analytical reports for senior leadership, to assist in reviewing performance measures and short and long-term engagement strategies.

Isabelle also serves on the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Committee for University Advancement. The mandate of the ERM Committee is to ensure that University Advancement has identified and put in place the appropriate mitigation plans to ensure institutional conformity with advancement operational risks.



Bespoke philanthropy: Building champions through interest scoring

John McKay, Director, Advancement Services; and John Gormaly, Senior Advancement Analyst, Advancement Services, McMaster University

To further the philanthropic interest of our supporters, we seek to align them with initiatives that resonate with them on a personal level.

This session will explore McMaster’s supporter segmentations, which leverage dynamic affinity and capacity scores to gain an understanding of supporters’ engagement with the school and their ability to give.

These segments are further filtered by a Dynamic Interest Score that identifies the causes our supporters care about. Each individual is scored across all interest areas (e.g., Faculty and purpose) by examining their previous behaviour (donations, events, and volunteering) and their self-identified interests (through surveys and social media). This provides us with the opportunity to identify individuals who have a propensity to support particular areas, and to approach them with bespoke requests.

Participants in this session will learn about:

  1. Segmentation using affinity and capacity scores.
  2. Developing an interest-based score.
  3. Generating segmentation strategies.


John McKay, Director, Advancement Services, McMaster University

John McKay has worked at McMaster for 26 years, initially as a System Coordinator, and subsequently as the Director of Advancement Services at McMaster. His position comprises biographical records, donations processing, and system services. McMaster has over 275,000 entities on its databases and uses the Ellucian Advance system.


John Gormaly, Senior Advancement Analyst, Advancement Services, McMaster University

John Gormaly has worked as a Senior Advancement Analyst at McMaster University for two years. His work focuses on improving Advancement Services procedures and supporting principal donors. Previously, John managed the database at Habitat for Humanity Canada, and prior to that he worked in market research at Nielsen on projects involving consumer and shopping behaviour.


DIY (Do it yourself) data governance

George Firican - Data Governance Director, Data Governance & Business Intelligence, University of British Columbia

Data governance includes multiple facets and can be a daunting program to undertake all at once. What if you have very few (or zero) extra resources to commit to it from the start? What should your initial focus be? What foundational blocks should you put in place to build a data governance program? This session will provide potential solutions to all these questions.

Participants in this session will learn:

  1. How to start a data governance program as a do-it-yourself initiative.
  2. How to secure funding.
  3. Quick gains you can achieve within the first year.


George Firican - Data Governance Director, Data Governance & Business Intelligence, University of British Columbia

George Firican currently leads an award-winning data governance program he created to support UBC’s development and alumni engagement goals. Complementing this are his 10+ years of project management and business analysis experience in higher education, software development and e-commerce industries.

George’s passion for information quality and data governance also propelled him to obtain a Master Data Quality Manager ISO 8000 certification in data stewardship, and Information Management Professional certification in data governance. He has been an active board member in the Data Governance Professionals Organization for two years and is a current Data Governance instructor.


Giving days from an advancement services perspective

Sarah Clarke, Director, Annual Giving & Advancement Services, Carleton University

High-volume giving days are growing more popular and are excellent ways to attract new donors, fund special projects and generate excitement on campus. This presentation will look at the back-end gifts administration and records challenges that advancement services teams face during giving days, and how to overcome the most common of them.

Participants in this session will learn:

  1. Why high-volume giving is an advancement services issue.
  2. How to plan for the known in high-volume days.
  3. How to deal with the unknown on high-volume days.


Sarah Clarke, Director, Annual Giving & Advancement Services, Carleton University

Sarah Clarke began working as a student caller nearly 25 years ago. Upon graduation from McMaster University, she joined Mac’s team as an Annual Giving Officer and later moved on to Trinity College at the University of Toronto to run its Annual Giving program.

In 2002, Sarah came to Carleton University to revive Carleton’s annual giving efforts and initiate comprehensive, multi-channel giving programs for all constituents. In the following year, records, reporting, prospect research, advancement operations and gifts administration were added to her portfolio.

Since then, the team’s primary focus has been on growing annual giving, increasing efficiency in all processes and better integrating advancement services’ efforts across campus.


Understanding cyber-risk for higher education

David Shipley, CEO and Co-founder, of Beauceron Security

Join us for exploration of how cyber-risks - from data breaches to ransomware and more - pose a growing challenge for higher education. During this session you will learn what cyber-risks are and how mitigating them takes a combination of people, process, culture and technology.

Participants in this session will:

  1. Understand cyber-risks for organizations.
  2. Understand the impacts of cyber-risks on education in 2018.
  3. Gain guidance on how leaders can help their organizations proactively prevent attacks, and be more resilient in recovering from successful attacks.


David Shipley, CEO and Co-founder of Beauceron Security

David Shipley is a nationally recognized leader in cybersecurity. He holds a Certified Information Security manager (CISM) designation - a highly recognized credential for cyber-risk management. Davis is also the CEO and co-founder of Beauceron Security, a New Brunswick-based start-up that specializes in cyber-risk and has dozens of clients in higher education, retail, manufacturing, government and IT.


Queen’s University: 3 sessions in 1

Session #1

Do we need counseling? When the relationship between prospect management and prospect research drifts apart

Amber Palmer, Prospect Management Analyst; and Kiersten Hutchinson, Research Analyst, Queen’s University

Building a strong working relationship between prospect management and prospect research is a key component of fundraising success. High-performing teams need to have a shared understanding of each other’s roles, establish clear and open lines of communication and be able to leverage role synergies. Drawing on real-world examples, this session will explore how to make this marriage of equals work and how to build a winning team.

Attendees will learn:

  • about the tools needed to build and maintain open communication between the prospect management and prospect research teams.
  • how to overcome obstacles that can hinder these teams.


Session #2

Relationship mapping:  A demonstration

Jaclyn O’Hearn, Research Analyst; and Carlye Brash, Research Analyst, Queen’s University

Much has been written about the use of relationship mapping techniques by nonprofits and charities. The idea has an intrinsic appeal. Who could say no to a system that allows fundraisers to visually identify connections between prospective donors, volunteers and friends of their organization? This presentation will demonstrate the mapping product currently in use at Queen’s University and show how mapping can help organizations build their donor pipelines and improve fundraising results.

Participants will learn:

  • how to create an interest in data visualization as a tool for fundraisers.
  • how a mapping program can have a quantifiable impact on the bottom line for nonprofits.


Session #3

The remote researcher

Jaime Semple, Manager, Prospect Research Group; and Jacqueline Trott, Research Analyst, Queen’s University

In today’s virtual, technology-driven workplace, it is possible for a prospect researcher to work from almost anywhere. But is this all it takes? In this session we will discuss our experience having a Prospect Research Analyst working off-site for 5 years. We will look at the real-world benefits and challenges of the remote researcher model and share our insights, anecdotes and strategies for making the relationship work.

Participants will:

  • discuss the benefits and challenges of having a prospect researcher working from a remote location.
  • identify the key determinants of success for a remote-researcher model.