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7 Fascinating Fundraising Conferences For the Second Half of 2018

Winter and spring can seem like conference rush-hour season for higher ed advancement professionals. Unfortunately, these great industry events tend to coincide with people’s busiest end-of-fiscal year deadlines. Luckily, if you were too busy to go to a conference during the first half of the year, the second half still delivers. There’s still time to sign up for one of these seven great conferences that will help you grow as a professional and strengthen your organization.

1. Case Summit

July 15-17, 2018 | New York, N.Y.

What is it: Case Summit is a chance for senior-level advancement professionals to discuss the issues affecting the future of higher education advancement. A range of speakers and industry insiders will address topics in keynote addresses and in break-out sessions.

Why it Made the List: When you’re in the trenches doing the hard work of fundraising, it’s important to keep your eyes on the horizon and make sure you’re still on track. Case Summit is a great opportunity to learn more about issues facing advancement and prepare for opportunities that lie ahead. Meet your peers, network, and learn how fundraising shops across the country are facing the future.

2. Frontline Fundraising: Essentials of Gift Solicitation

July 19-20, 2018 | Chicago, Ill.

What it is: This is an entry-level gift solicitation training session for gift officers, volunteers, or academic leaders. It’s designed to help front-line fundraisers feel confident making calls, visits, asks, as well as managing a portfolio. The event positions itself as great for training groups of fundraisers.

Why it Made the List: Confident, well-trained frontline fundraisers have the ability to immediately impact your ability to raise more funds. It’s worth making sure everyone on your team is up to speed because a poorly trained fundraiser will have a hard time making an impact. This conference is practical and skills-based, which means attendees will leave with a toolkit of tips and tricks to improve their fundraising effectiveness.

3. APRA Prospect Development Conference

Aug. 8-11, 2018 | Pittsburgh, Pa.

What it is:  The APRA Prospect Development Conference brings together prospect researchers, leaders, and data analytics experts to explore a diverse array of topics ranging from the future of research to portfolio management to prospect researcher career advancement. Speakers are experts within the field of prospect research and data analytics and cover a wide range of prospect development topics.

Why it Made the List: Prospect research and development benefits from key insights and new technology to make it smarter and more efficient. What better way to keep abreast of current trends and opportunities than to hear directly from your peers? For leadership attendees, a special, seminar on attendee-driven topics lets you customize and dig deep on topics of interest.

4. Reeher Vista Executive Conference

Aug. 28-30, 2018 | Minneapolis, Minn.

What it is: This research-driven conference is designed for advancement executives who are interested in higher ed fundraising trends and best practices. Peer speakers and higher ed industry experts highlight fundraising trends, action items, and long-term strategic considerations to ponder.

Why it Made the List: The Vista Conference advocates for change management strategies to make fundraisers more efficient and more resilient against pressure and change. You’ll  dive deep into industry research and peer presentations to emerge with a better picture of where fundraising is headed and how you can stay ahead of the curve.

5. Associate of Donor Relations Professionals International Conference

October 3-5, 2018 | St. Louis, Mo.

What it is: The Association of Donor Relations Professionals (ADRP) hosts this intensive yearly conference designed to cover everything about nonprofit donor relations. They have a tremendous variety of break-out sessions featuring expert voices from fundraising shops of all sizes and nonprofit sectors.

Why it Made the List: The variety of break-out sessions, the depth of the speaking talent, and the networking opportunities make this a great conference to attend. The conference is so large, that you’re sure to find your niche. University fundraising is well represented.

6. CASE Essentials of Leadership Annual Giving

Oct 17-18, 2018 | San Diego, Calif.

What it is: The Essentials of Leadership Annual giving is designed for entry to mid-level advancement professionals. You’ll learn strategies for expanding your leadership annual giving program and securing unrestricted support. You’ll walk away with emerging best practices and proven methods for strengthening your leadership program.

Why it Made the List: Leadership annual giving donors are a critical group of mid-level donors and an important part of the major gifts pipeline. Since many advancement departments have put the most effort into the pursuit of the largest gifts, this conference will help you refocus your attention onto mid-level donors.

7. Revitalizing Your Donor Relations Program

November 5-7. 2018 | Newport Beach, Calif.

What it is: Experts Angela Joens with the University of California, Davis, Sarah Sims with the University of Florida, and Lynne Wester with Donor Relations Guru will help conference goers breathe new life into their donor relations programs. Attendees will leave with actionable strategies to strengthen their programs.

Why it Made the List: Donor relations and stewardship activities are critical components of strong fundraising organizations, but they’re often underdeveloped. This conference helps you assess your current donor relations strategy and develop a plan specific for your institution. Your overall fundraising capabilities will be better for it.

Why You Should Go to at Least One Conference Per Year

Conferences are a great resource to learn what is going on in the constantly evolving fundraising industry. Whether you’re in major giving, annual giving, prospect research, or leadership, there’s a fundraising conference out there designed to help you work smarter and achieve more. Is there a conference you love that didn’t make the list? Let us know at info@reeher.com.

Want the higher ed fundraising research, tips, and best practices, but don’t have the time or budget for a conference? Check out Fundraising at the Speed of Life, for the latest in fundraising thought leadership.


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