Attended by more than 1,800 people, this year’s event was the most comprehensive in its history—featuring two education-focused breakfasts, four sessions of fundraising programs on nine tracks, as well as a series of interactive workshops held throughout the day. Attendees had the opportunity to network with colleagues and explore the services offered by more than fifty exhibitors in the Solutions Center as well as sign up for mentoring sessions in a special section set aside for personalized resume review and career coaching. In addition to the special CFRE track, newcomers to the field were offered the opportunity to earn a Fundamentals in Fundraising Certificate in just one day. The three programs described below are just a sampling of the wealth of wisdom and information shared at this premier fundraising conference dedicated to the passion and enthusiasm of those very special people who have chosen fundraising as their life’s work.
Personalized Philanthropy: Crash Your Fundraising Matrix
And Make a Real Shift to Donor-Focused Giving
“Philanthropy that focuses on donor interests is a rarity!"
Steven L. Meyers, Ph.D. Vice President, Center of Personalized Philanthropy,
American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science
In this compelling program, Steven Meyers, Ph.D. challenges his audience to recognize that their meticulously organized fundraising initiatives often ignore personal donor interests. He points specifically to deferred gift instruments such as bequests and trusts which marginalize donors by placing them outside the traditional “major donor clubs" enjoyed by cash contributors. In order to bring donors closer to the impact of their gifts, Steve has created three Personalized Gift Designs.
• Virtual Endowment – this instrument encourages a donor to support a scholarship or program long before he/she may be capable of making a substantial gift. The donor agrees to underwrite the cost of a program that ignites their passion through an annual gift over a specified number of years—with a pledge for a future gift (often a bequest or trust) to endow the program in perpetuity.
• Philanthropic Mortgage – with this vehicle the donor makes an annual gift “over and above" the yearly costs of a program he/she is supporting—with the surplus used to build an endowment designed to sustain the program permanently. One can think of the Philanthropic Mortgage as a pledge to be paid out over time, with a portion of the gift used to support the expenses of the program until the endowment is fully funded.
• Step-Up Gifts – gifts of this type allow the donor to fund an endowment or chair at different levels over time. For instance an endowment can initially be funded as a “Masters Scholarship" at the $100,000 level with the opportunity for the donor to gradually add to the fund, moving it to a “Doctoral Scholarship" at the $250,000 level, and possibly a “Professorial Chair" at $1 million.
Each of these “Killer Apps", as Steve refers to them, engages the donor through their interests, and, at the same time, allows them to envision future giving in the form of large outright or planned gifts. At the same time, the donor can join the prestigious ranks of the major contributors of the institution as opposed to having his or her planned gift relegated to the hinterland of a Legacy Society.