Breakout Sessions

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We have a lot of great speakers lined up for Symposium 2018. This all-day learning session, held just once a year, is particularly appropriate for executive directors, board members, volunteers, those seeking to join fundraising as a profession, and development staff at any level of learning. Take a look at what you'll learn!

Keynote Presentation

Gail_Perry-head-shot-hi-res-116.jpgDisruptive Trends in Fundraising: Dealing with the Changing Major Gift Donor & Disrupting Your Board's View of Fundraising to Create New Engagement, Excitement and Revenue

Keynote Speaker
Gail Perry, MBA, CFRE

Click here for Gail's presentation slides.





Pre-Symposium Breakouts

Finding Career Growth in Your Current Job


The high turnover rate in the development profession is well documented, so it's become the norm for most fundraisers to expect to stay in their current position for just two years or less. But what if you didn't have to leave the job you have now to find the challenges, rewards and meaning you're seeking? This session will help development professionals explore ways to advance in their careers without jumping to a different organization. Many workshops focus on how nonprofit employers can retain their fundraising staff, but this one tackles how fundraisers can shape the elements they control to create a situation in which they WANT to stay.


c648df78-76a4-49bb-99a0-f5762c142ed0.jpgSuzanne Elliott, Principal at Envision Consulting in Los Angeles, has been providing management consulting to nonprofit organizations and mission-driven businesses since 2013. Suzanne leads the firm’s organizational strategy practice and also supports nonprofit clients in executive search and talent development. Suzanne earned a B.A. in public policy studies summa cum laude from Duke University and received an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business. She serves on the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run of Los Angeles, the Fund Development Committee of Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County, and the faculty of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at California Lutheran University.

Click here for Suzanne's presentation slides

Making the Transition to Fund Development Professional


For newcomers to the profession, experienced marketing and fundraising volunteers, and board members who may be contemplating a career shift, you will learn first-hand what it's like to transition to a rewarding career as a fund development professional. When you love what you do, you never work a day in your life!


ac77b75c-23ee-485f-a792-e75576186ae6.jpgAmy Towner, Chief Executive Officer of Health Care Foundation for Ventura County made the shift from a passionate volunteer to fundraising professional. Since starting the Foundation in November of 2015, Amy has helped it to grow to more than $4 million in annual revenue, implemented an 8,000 person employee giving program, and recently secured approval for Ventura County Medical Center to be the third location for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern California.

Click here for Amy's presentation slides

To CFRE or Not CFRE? - That is the Question


Have you thought about earning your Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) credential, but not sure if you should try? This session will answer all your questions. You'll learn: what's involved in earning your CFRE, how you can easily start your online profile today even if you're not sure you'll take the test, how fundraisers with a CFRE are viewed differently and paid better, and much more. Come join us for an informative session that could change your career!


0b2250a6-bb28-4f1c-8579-44864b88a9e1.pngHeidi Whitman, CFRE, is the Director of Development and Communications for Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and serves on the AFP Santa Barbara/Ventura Counties Chapter Board. Heidi has over fifteen years of experience as a professional fundraiser and has served on a number of non-profit boards for educational and environmental causes. She is a strong advocate for the CFRE credential and has spoken for both the AFP SBV and the AFP Silicon Valley chapters on mastering the CFRE application and exam.
Afternoon Breakouts

Creative Cultivation and the Art of the Ask


We don’t really “cultivate” donors (something we do to them); we “engage” with them. Why “ask” donors for money when we can “invite” them to “invest” in an outcome that resonates with their philanthropic priorities? How we speak about our “potential partners” forms the basis for how we work with them throughout our relationship. 

Using examples from Community Memorial Health System’s recently completed $25 million capital campaign in Ventura County, we will share the engagement and invitation strategies we found most successful; how they aligned with our imperfect (but realistic) beginnings; how they matched the culture of the community we serve; and how these creative approaches and lessons learned can be adapted to settings big and small to advance participants’ causes.

50b20360-ab3d-468b-a6a1-08a0e458de87.jpgMary Schmitz, Director of Development for Community Memorial Health System Ventura County, began her professional career as a registered nurse, working in Boston, Phoenix and Los Angeles. She earned a Masters in Community Health Nursing from ASU, and a MPH and Ph.D. in Public Health from UCLA. She began her fundraising path writing grant proposals primarily for CSU Long Beach and Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital. She served as President and CEO of the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation for seven years, and is now having the time of her life working on CMH's capital campaign.

Click here for Mary's presentation slides

Guiding Donors to the Next Level of Support


Fundraisers can sometimes get a bit stuck in our ways, find ourselves having to cut corners or worse, become neglectful of our pipeline of current donors because we're juggling too many other competing priorities. While there is no one-size-fits-all way to steward donors, there are ways to organize your time to increase the likelihood of a future gift. You will learn how to create a loyal donor base and what reliable strategies to implement to guide donors to new levels of giving. Leave this session with a plan you can set in motion immediately whether you are a one-person office or have a team of fund development professionals and volunteers assisting you.

7d398b86-0f98-483d-afc1-3bc4ea0860b2.pngMolly Ann Woods, CFRE, is the Chief Development Officer at New Directions for Veterans where she oversees all the fundraising, marketing and communications for the agency. Prior to this, she was President of M&M Philanthropy Consulting, Director of Corporate Relations at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Executive Director for External Affairs at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science, Director of Development for the Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering at Loyola Marymount University, Director of Development for the College of Engineering and Technology at CSU Los Angeles, and Director of Major and Planned Gifts at Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. Molly Ann received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Temple University and her Master’s degree in History at CSU Los Angeles.

Click here for Molly Ann's presentation slides

Identifying the Right Prospect, From the Right Data, for the Right Gift


Whether you are new to prospecting and want to prioritize your time or needing to build a new more robust pipeline for an established organization, a small, medium or large shop... there are right ways and wrong ways for identifying and cultivating the right prospect from the right data for the right gift. You will learn how The Autry Museum successfully applied their approach to help in completing a 5-year $80 million campaign through data gathering, data management, and reporting.

75c00e50-2541-46a2-a0fc-a07bcfe3a363.jpgCristian Hamilton, Senior Director of Development, Relationship Management, & Data Sciences at The Autry Museum, Los Angeles, is a 25-year fundraising professional with extensive experience in developing and implementing prospect identification and management processes at both large and small nonprofits. He has been a presenter at local, national, and international conferences on the topic of prospect identification and management for organizations such as the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Districts 7 & 8, the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement (APRA), California Advancement Researchers Association (CARA), and the Annual Giving Professional Network (AGPN).

Click here for Cristian's presentation slides

Click here for The Autry Museum Prospect Management and Tracking (PMAT)