Curated Session Topics

At RMPI 2020, you will participate in five speaker-led sessions, including a keynote address, three plenary talks, and a breakout session of your choice. Learn more about each session below.

To learn more about RMPI 2020 speakers, click here.



Asset-Framing: Shifting the Narrative and How We Define People 

AboutIn the non-profit world, we are often tasked with telling the story of the communities we serve. These narratives are what we use to secure funding, gain publicity, and obtain public support. From the boardroom to the newsroom, foundation and nonprofits have historically used tales of deficit and despair to incite action from stakeholders and gain the sympathetic ear of the public - unaware of the stigmatizing effects. Asset-framing is the shift to narratives that define a people by their aspirations and contributions. 

Shorters and his organization, BMe, train leaders working in social innovation, philanthropy and education to apply asset-framing to achieve greater success, diversity, equity and impact. Commended by leading institutions such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, New Schools Venture Fund, and The Heinz Endowments, asset-framing is a game-changer for nonprofits. 

Learn more about Trabian Shorters here.


Participants may attend all plenary sessions. 

Unlocking the Generosity Center of Your Donor's Brain 

Presenter: Tim Kachuriak of NextAfter 

About: Effective fundraising doesn't just happen by accident. It requires careful planning, a clear value proposition...and the right psychological cues. In this fast-moving session loaded with real-life examples, we will explore ways you can increase your fundraising results by applying lessons learned from neuroscience. 


SuperPOWERs: The Dynamics that Propel and Hold Us Back

Presenters: Brittny Wilson & Nia Wassink of The Nonprofit Reframe 

: You’ll laugh along as Brittny and Nia share hilarious stories from the frontlines of fundraising, while also addressing some of the structural issues that make fundraising difficult and downright infuriating at times. With decades of experience between the two of them, they’ve seen it all and are ready to expose what isn’t working for nonprofits. Power dynamics are at play that both hold us back, but can also be leveraged for real change as fundraisers.


Funny and Fundraising: Is that really a thing?

Presenter: Emily Davis of Emily Davis Consulting 

Let's call you what you are - a fundraising badass. Every day you overcome pervasive fundraising myths, challenges, and assumptions. We've all heard some of these phrases thrown around: "fundraising is sales," "I don't want to beg for money," "our board doesn't do fundraising," and "we'll just make up the budget by throwing a house party." [Insert eye rolls here.] As if it hasn't been tough enough, now we all have a good 'ole pandemic to make this work even more real.

Go on a mini-vacation from development demands and laugh out loud together. Laughter brings us closer together and in a field based on relationships, we all need to shorten the distance between us. Come join in this interactive session to crack open the comedies, tragedies, and joys of fundraising. Wrap up a historic RMPI with Emily Davis who brings the real fun to fundraising. 


Participants may select one of the following interactive sessions to attend. 

The Ultimate Dance: Executive Directors and Development Directors 

Speakers: Tami Lack Crawford & Genevieve Laca 

About: Often Development professionals work their way into Executive Director roles. How do you "let go" and allow your Director of Development do the work you know so well? Sometimes, Executive Directors are hired with no background in fundraising at all. What is reasonable to expect of your Development Director, and how much should you, as the Executive Director, take on? These are fluid questions that will be addressed with case studies, stories, entertaining scenarios, and discussion. Tami and Genevieve are former colleagues who have both learned the hard way and have also experienced a “well-oiled machine.” There is a healthy balance and when it is reached, great things happen, and the dance begins! 


On the Frontline: Helping Your Organization Build an Adaptive Culture

Speaker: Lara Jakubowski 

About: As a development executive, you bring the external community perspective to management and board discussions. You may also see that community needs or philanthropic interests are evolving and find program staff resistant to taking that in if it might mean changing their program design or offerings. But for the organization to succeed, you will need to help them change – not once, but continually. Learn how to be the change maker.


Changing Channels
Multi-Channel Marketing for Your Next Fundraising Campaign 

Speaker: Abby Jarvis 

About: Your donors are everywhere – they’re giving online, they’re reading on their phones, and they’re checking their mailboxes. How can you possibly know where – and how – to talk to them? In this session, you'll learn how to set up a marketing campaign that will catch donors’ attention on any channel. You’ll learn: 

  • How to choose which channels to include in your campaign (social media, email, direct mail, television, etc.) 
  • How to select and tell stories that deepen donor’s connection to your mission 
  • How to choose images and other media to complement your messaging 
  • Best practices for using common marketing channels 
  • And more! 

By the end, you’ll be equipped to plan your own multi-channel marketing campaign, choose your assets, and compel your donors. 


Throw Out the PlanFundraising Events in The Time of a Pandemic 

Speaker: Celina Maggi 

About: How do you connect with supporters, raise funds, and inspire change when you can't physically connect? Celina Maggi, a nonprofit veteran turned consultant, shares her own experience of helping clients reimagine their biggest special events. You will hear lessons learned, success stories, and which elements you can plan to keep in a socially distanced world. This session will be interactive, inviting you to share your experiences and learn from each other as we workshop best – and worst – practices for virtual events. 


Making Best BetterNew Practices in an Age of Change 

Speakers: Elvira Ramos & Maegan Vallejo 

About: Many “best” practices in fundraising reinforce inequities rather than support the community change that our organizations’ programs and missions aim to achieve. While conversations at many levels of our organizations have focused on diversity, equity, inclusion, fundraising is often missing from these exchanges. In this session, you will learn how to adapt fundraising best practices to a diverse and inclusive model. Elvira and Maegan will take you through two case studies, give you the tools to start implementing inclusive practices on Monday, and the resources to make the case for change to the rest of your organization. 


Leadership Resiliency: Remaining Whole in a Complex World 

Speaker: Dr. Cole Struhar 

About: Resilient leaders have macro-perspective, self-awareness, and a love for mystery. These three abilities support the ability to remain whole, even in the face of great suffering and complexity. This session is an opportunity to explore your leadership challenges through the lens of your leadership resiliency. Dr. Struhar will offer three strategies for nourishing your leadership resiliency over time. The human condition has yet to change, but how we work with it can change. Tune in to investigate your ability to remain whole while having sophisticated influence in a complex world. 


Mindfully Creating Meaningful Major Gifts from Scratch 

Speaker: Joshua Zmroczek 

About: Mindfully creating meaningful major gifts looks different for every agency, large or small. Step back and look at the resources you have available - staff, technology, and time - and see where, who, and how you need to focus your attention to generate a greater impact and develop deep new partnerships. 

Learn more about RMPI 2020 speakers on our biography page.