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2015 National Fundraising Conference- "Ignite the Passion!"

The MIE 2015 National Fundraising Conference is in the works!  See the bottom of this page for our draft agenda.

The conference will take place in the Pacific Northwest at the Hyatt Regency in beautiful Bellevue, Washington on Thursday, August 27 and Friday, August 28th.
**Registration Deadline for this Conference is August 12!**

Opening Plenary:  Creating the Elusive Culture of Philanthropy by Susan Howlett
You are consistently called on to “lead up” in your organization and you have the power to shift people’s perspectives about fundraising.  Find out how to help others see what philanthropy is really about, including who your best prospects are, what they want out of their relationship with your organization, and how giving them what they want raises more money than asking.

Workshop: Practical Steps That Bring Board and Staff to Effective Fundraising by Susan Howlett
We can create the elusive culture of philanthropy in our organizations by taking tiny, practical, no-cost steps that fit into our over-full schedules.  Leave this session with specific tactics that will shift the attitudes and behavior in your group toward authentic relationships, messages of impact, and gratitude.

Susan Howlett has been raising money joyfully for over forty years, as a board member, development director, executive director, and consultant to over 1000 nonprofits just like yours.  Long time instructor in the University of Washington’s year-long Fundraising Program, Susan is also author of two acclaimed books:  Getting Funded and Boards on Fire! Inspiring Leaders to Raise Money Joyfully.  She speaks, trains and consults nationally, known for her liberal use of humor, stories, and chocolate.

The Development Director's Guide to Managing Up: Strategies for Achieving Your Top Priorities
Executive Directors warmly welcomed too! Participate in a discussion using real-life examples to illustrate the challenging decision making process that is critical to advancing your development program. Learn to identify where to place your overtaxed resources in order to make your efforts more successful, and what to trim in order to move forward. Provide your own input into this important conversation, and take home talking points to support the hard decisions you have to make around fundraising priorities.

Facilitators: Lisa R. Verges, Director of Development, Community Legal Services and Patricia Pap, Executive Director, Management Information Exchange

Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat – A Powerful Introduction
Do you want to know how you can raise more money using the mail?  Want to know how expert fundraisers write letters that motivate people to send in money?  Do you need a holistic fundraising plan that honors the donor’s giving heart and raises more money for your mission?  Then “Ask, Thank, Report, Repeat – A Powerful Introduction” is for you.  Come learn the secrets behind these four simple, yet powerful words and how they can transform your fundraising strategy.  By the end of our time together you will know how to craft and deliver a clear fundraising message using direct mail, email and other fundraising communication platforms.  The end result will be an annual fundraising plan that is measureable, repeatable and successful.

Jim Shapiro has spent 20 years serving and working in the nonprofit sector. He is co-founder of The Better Fundraising Co., former founder of The EDGE Group and in his first decade of work was the Vice President of Development at CRISTA.  Jim is a seasoned and experienced development professional, and has led successful capital campaigns, events, and development efforts for a large number of organizations. He has consulted with charities, community groups, churches, and schools throughout the Pacific Northwest on topics of leadership, board governance, and management. He is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University and is currently the Head Football Coach for King’s High School in Seattle. Jim is married and has three kids.


Ready, Set, Go! (Re)Launching Your Planned Giving Program

Have you been planning to get a planned giving program going at your organization or do you have a program which has been derailed?  Learn how to get a program started or to get your current program back on track.  Our three panelists – a consultant who has worked nationally, a planned giving officer and a small shop development director - will offer practical advice on the key elements of any program.  They will cover everything A to Z – from assessing if you’re ready for planned giving to stewarding your donors.  All of this can be done with a small investment in staff time budget but will result in new gifts for your organization.  Walk away with the tools to get your plan off the ground.

Sara Elward
Sara began her development career over 25 years ago at KERA, public television in Dallas. She has raised funds for a public policy organization, healthcare organizations, community foundations, the Seattle Public Library Foundation and KCTS 9. Sara just retired from the position of Manager of Gift Planning at KCTS 9 where she oversaw all aspects of their planned giving program, including marketing, prospect identification and cultivation, gift solicitation, assistance with gift planning, and donor stewardship.  As a reader, an audience member and a development officer, she satisfies her deep-seated craving to have people tell her the stories of their lives.

Alison O’Carroll, Senior Consultant, PG Calc
Alison O’Carroll, J.D., M.B.A., joined PG Calc in 2006. As a Senior Consultant, she has worked with a wide variety of non-profit clients providing advice and guidance on all aspects of planned giving programs.  Prior to joining PG Calc, Alison served in several capacities within CARE’s Office of Planned Giving and as the Director of Development for the University of Washington School of Public Health. Alison has served in local leadership roles, including President of the Washington Planned Giving Council (WPGC) and as a Board member of the Northwest Development Officers Association (NDOA).  She has spoken at various conferences across the country, including the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP) national conference, and co-teaches PG 101 with Frank Minton at the WPGC Planned Giving Day annual conference.  It is her passion and pleasure to encourage non-profits to engage in planned giving and help donors to create their legacies.

B. Michelle Johnson, Director of Development, Legal Voice
Michelle is the Director of Development for Legal Voice, a women’s rights organization that uses impact litigation and advocacy to make systemic changes the law. Prior to this, she worked in fundraising and communications at Planned Parenthood of Western Washington and Planned Parenthood of Greater Cleveland.  She is a member of Washington Planned Giving Council and Advancement Northwest where she mentors new fundraisers and serves on the membership committee.  She also teaches fundraising at University of Washington in their Certificate in Nonprofit Management program.  Her volunteer experiences include serving in the Peace Corps in Cote d’Ivoire, chairing the Community Advisory Board for HIV/AIDS Trail Unit, and actively participating as a member of the Greater Seattle Business Association. When she’s not passionately advocating for women’s rights, she is running or hiking the beautiful mountains of Western Washington, gardening or trying out a new microbrew.


Working Successfully With Consultants: Roundtable Discussion

Have you worked with a fundraising consultant or are you thinking of hiring one for your organization?  Do you have experience as a consultant helping philanthropic organizations to raise money?  What is the difference between a professional fundraiser and a fundraising consultant?  What are the most common ethical red flags, and how do you ensure that you get your money's worth?  Join roundtable moderator Lisa Verges, Director of Development at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, to share your advice and get answers to your questions.  Lisa brings a variety of perspectives from her experience as a development staff member, consultant, and Board member.

Presenter: Lisa Verges, Director of Development, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia (full bio below)


Inclusive Prospect Identification: Going Beyond "My Contacts"

You've mastered your Elevator Speech and crafted your Case for Giving.  You can tell the story, but to whom?  And ... what happens when you ask your Board members to send you prospect names?  Instead of pushing your Board to mine their contact lists for people who are ready to give, take a fresh look at your untapped resources and connections.  Through an exercise based on methods developed by the consulting firm Benevon, you will brainstorm with fellow participants to identify overlooked resources, discover how far your reach may extend, and find natural supporters within your existing networks. Take home an easy "How To" guide to implement this commonsense, eye-opening exercise with your Board and staff leaders.

Presenter: Lisa Verges, Director of Development, Community Legal Services, Philadelphia

Lisa Verges joined Community Legal Services as Director of Development in 2012.  She entered the nonprofit fundraising world as a college student over 30 years ago, found inspiration, and never left.  A graduate of University of Virginia, Lisa has focused on individual giving and Board governance at a variety of philanthropic organizations, mostly in the Philadelphia area. She has served in both staff, consulting, and volunteer roles, and believes that professionals openly sharing their experiences and questions leads to greater understanding and success.  An active rower, Lisa is a founding Board member and volunteer serving the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, Philadelphia's largest and most inclusive rowing event.


Accessing Federal Grant Funding and Other Resources for Civil Legal Aid

This session will provide updates on the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Access to Justice Initiative to identify opportunities for federal agencies to better integrate civil legal aid into federal safety-net programs and other federal initiatives that could be strengthened by incorporating legal services. Panelists will share new federal grant opportunities for legal aid providers and tips on working with new partners to gain access to these funds.

Bob Bullock is a Senior Counsel for the Access to Justice Initiative at the US Department of Justice where he works on a range of issues related to civil legal aid and criminal indigent defense. He worked at the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for six years on budget and policy issues related to criminal justice, among other things. Bullock first joined the Federal government as a Presidential Management Fellow at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Prior to that, he was a civil Legal Services attorney in North Carolina and California, specializing in housing and consumer protection law. He received his master's degree in public policy (M.P.P.) from UCLA, J.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill, and A.B. from Guilford College.


The Donor Journey: Moving Your Donors to New Heights of Giving

Is your organization ready to build a more successful major gifts program? This session will take you through the “must-haves” to be successful in the critical area of individual giving.  From fostering a culture that celebrates philanthropy to building the proper process to effectively execute, this session will highlight best practices to achieve success. The Ostara Group has worked with dozens of Puget Sound-area non-profits on these same opportunities. We’ll share our perspective on common challenges and successful outcomes, and address your questions.

We’ll also share some tools of the trade, including moves management trackers and case for support worksheets.  Be prepared for a conversation and an opportunity to inquire.


Rebecca Zanatta, Senior Partner, Major Gifts and Organizational Development, The Ostara Group

With more than 15 years of experience building and stewarding strategic donor partnerships and serving in high-level development roles for organizations like the Pacific Science Center and the Washington State University Foundation, Rebecca has a deep understanding of everything from the planning, building and managing a diverse and successful major gifts to developing and implementing a realistic and focused strategic plan. Rebecca graduated from Washington State University with a BA in organizational communication and holds a MEd in higher education administration from the University of Idaho. She completed her Certificate in Fund Raising Management (CFRM) from the Indiana University School of Philanthropy and has consulted with nonprofits on their fundraising strategies; including generational giving, social media and volunteer management programs. Rebecca is the Immediate Past President of the Northwest Development Officers Association (NDOA).

Natalia Fior, Senior Consultant, The Ostara Group

Natalia has been fundraising for nonprofits since 2008. Her experience is with small and medium sized organizations, with a focus on individual and event fundraising as well as raising money to support political causes and candidates. She has coached board members, staff, volunteers and interns to fundraise successfully. Detail-oriented, while still focused on the big picture, Natalia loves strategic planning and believes that every organization needs a good fundraising plan to truly be successful in achieving their mission. She has raised money for women’s rights, housing and homelessness, anti- hunger and LGBTQ equity locally and statewide, and is currently consulting with Northwest Justice Project.


Cultivating and Stewarding Donors

Legal aid programs are woefully behind in terms of donor cultivation and stewardship, work that builds the relationships with donors that leads to deep commitment, investment and support. What are the best practices around donor cultivation and stewardship? What kind of time and resources are needed to effectively steward donors? How do we convince the board and our executive directors to make a greater investment in this work? Join with this panel of experienced fundraisers who are actively stewarding donors experiences.


Developing an Effective Communications Plan

You’ve worked hard to develop a solid resource development plan. Have you done the same in the critical area of communications? Come to this session, presented by Voices for Civil Justice, to learn how to develop a communications plan that supports both your fundraising efforts and your overall strategic plan. Using actual plans from legal aid programs as examples, we will identify communications strategies to advance your organizational objectives. The session will include a review of the recent opinion and messaging research, and will incorporate the lessons learned from the research into the communications plan.

How to Generate Media Coverage of Civil Legal Aid

The lack of visibility of civil legal aid represents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is that most people have little awareness of what civil legal aid is or why it matters. The opportunity is that we can provide journalists with fresh, previously untold stories about our work. By casting a spotlight in the media on our work, we can strengthen our brand identity, garner deeper recognition by policy makers, opinion leaders and donors, and ultimately help increase resources. This session, presented by Voices for Civil Justice, will share tricks of the trade gleaned from Voices’ experience with media placement over the past year and will help you hone your messaging and practice your media pitching.


Ignite Your Private Fundraising Campaign — A Primer
If your program is just starting to develop a private fundraising effort or you want to charge up and expand a modest campaign, this session is for you. You will learn how to analyze past giving data and fundraising capabilities; develop a basic fundraising strategy; determine what staff, volunteers and other resources are needed; maximize your resources; and identify your first steps for implementation.

Successful Fundraising from Foundations: Perspectives from Three Program Officers
Is your program interested in increasing its success with foundation funding? Would you like to learn best practices for cultivating and continuing funding from foundations? In this session, panelists from the local philanthropic community, including former and current program officers from the Seattle Foundation, the Paul G. Allen Foundation and the Marguerite Casey Foundation, will discuss successful methods to cultivate a foundation gift, how to develop and maintain relationships, and how to manage and measure impact to attract additional foundation funding.

Working Successfully With Consultants: Roundtable Discussion
Have you worked with a fundraising consultant or are you thinking of hiring one for your organization? How do you ensure you get your money’s worth and avoid common ethical red flags? Join the discussion.


30 Minutes with a Mentor
Sign up to discuss your most critical fundraising issue with another conference participant who has skills or experience that you need. Both mentors and mentees find this informal exchange of information to be very valuable.





The Hyatt Regency Bellevue is located in Bellevue Square, the heart of dining, shopping and entertainment in Seattle’s Eastside and surrounded by stunning mountain views and wine country. Guest room rates are $189 at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue, 900 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004. Call 1-888-421-1442 to make your reservation now or use this link to book your room at the special group rate:  Please make your hotel reservation and complete your conference registration by August 12, 2015.


MIE subscribers $465

Non-subscribers $565

Board or fundraising committee members $100 off.

General registration starts at 7:30 am on Thursday, August 27, with the opening plenary beginning at 9 a.m. The final series of workshops will conclude at 3:15 pm on Friday, August 28.

Is this your first Fundraising Conference? Register at 7:15 a.m. and join us for the First-timers Orientation at 7:45 a.m.

30 Minutes with a Mentor: This popular feature is available at no extra cost at the conference, but you must register by August 5 to be paired with a mentor.



Still thinking about it? Hear what people had to say about the MIE 2014 National Fundraising Conference:

I wish I had known earlier how valuable and helpful these MIE fundraising conferences are.... I would not have waited so many years to attend my first one. - Jennifer Pelton, Director of Development, Public Justice Center

Fundraising for civil legal aid is its own beast. This conference will teach you how to tame it. - Katie Williams, Executive Director, Equal Access to Justice NM

I cannot overstate the value of the formal and informal networking opportunities with peers. I continue to follow up with these folks for ideas and brain-storming after the conference, too. - Andrea Kaufman, Director of Development, Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid

Excellent and engaging speakers, timely and practical suggestions. If you only attend one fund-raising conference this year, this should be that one. - Dave Collins, Board Member, Prairie State Legal Services, Inc.

I came to the MIE Fundraising Conference feeling intimidated and unexperienced, but left feeling like I was a part of a team. I learned that it is ok to reach out to others for support, because we all have a common goal. - Simone McKinney, Legal Aid Society of Easter Virginia in Norfolk, VA

As legal aid fundraisers, we are incredibly privileged to have a tailor-made forum for our sector to discuss, share and advocate development solutions. Make this trip! - Steve Taviner, Development Director, Community Legal Aid

Stay tuned for more information!

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Event Details

Aug 27 2015 - 8:00am to Aug 28 2015 - 5:00pm
Bellevue, WA
Event Address: 
Hyatt Regency Bellevue
900 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
United States
Management Information Exchange
Patricia Pap, MIE Executive Director
Contact Phone: 
Contact Email: 
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