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2018 The Fine Art of Successful Asking

Understanding the anatomy of a major gift from identification to getting the appointment to securing the gift to stewardship

Chicago, Illinois - The Westin Hotel - February 19-20, 2018

Costa Mesa, California - The Westin Hotel - May 7-8, 2018

Join us in the spring of 2018 for the Fine Art of Successful Asking.
In this two-day Seminar, we will explore the new paradigm in major gift fundraising. We review the difference between sustaining and major gifts. And most important, what dramatic changes take place in your organization if major donors adopt this new paradigm.

During this two-day Seminar we work through the Six Step Process of the Art of Successful Asking. We will explore in depth each of the following:

Step 1: Identify and Qualify the probable donor:

Step 2: Plan. How to motivate your donor to move from attention to interest to desire to action.

Step 3: Cultivate— build the relationship bridge between the probable donor and your organization. Involve the probable donor according to any “gaps” in your plan.

Step 4: Ask. Invite your probable donor to consider investing in your organization.  Asking is done in-person and face-to-face.

Step 5: Negotiate and Close. We lead the conversation from “no” to “yes” by eliminating the objection that prevents the gift. Without a plan, you waste time and risk losing the gift.

Step 6: Stewardship— the process of thanking. This is the first step in securing the next gift. 

This Seminar is for anyone who is involved in asking for gifts— Board Members, Volunteers, the entire Staff. 
It provides every element in securing the gift. Each “step” in this two-day immersion involves coaching, group discussion, and role-playing. If you have the responsibility of helping fund your organization, this Seminar is for you.
 Or if you wish to move into Major Gifts in the future, this will be a tremendous asset for you and your organization.

Distinct Activities During Our Seminars

The first is what we call ParkBenching. 
Mark Twain once wrote that the most profound learning experience a person can have is to have a great teacher on one end of a log and a student on the other. Well, we do that, but we skip the log!

In ParkBenching, registrants at the Institute have the opportunity for a one-on-one, twenty minute session with a faculty member. The session is open-ended, with no prohibition on the topic.

How to advance in the profession, how to deal with a Chair that's not effective, having a problem with the boss, looking for a new job. You name it— whatever needs to be discussed.

Second is the Buzz Group. The name says it all. Buzz Groups are interactive sessions covering vital topics— every possible area that leads to a successful development program.

The Buzz Group is lead by a faculty member. Attendees are divided into small teams. In each Seminar, there are two, one-hour Buzz Groups. The way they are scheduled, registrants can attend their choice of subjects during the two-day Seminar.

The 360 Rap is the third. 360 Rap provides an opportunity for registrants to analyze a faculty presentation. Following the presentation, in groups of six, registrants examine the material. Turn it inside-out. Review it again. Challenge. Explore. Analyze. Most important, they talk about the take-aways from the lesson they can put into use immediately back home.

Every Seminar is structured around the presentation, group discussion, and role playing. Attending a Seminar is an extraordinary experience. Many say it's the most effective and exciting coaching experience they have ever had. These special activities, added to one of the most outstanding faculties available, provide a remarkable opportunity to learn, explore, and practice.

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2018 Dates and Location

Chicago, IL – February 19-20, 2018
The Westin Hotel

909 N. Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL 60611

Phone: (312) 943-7200

Costa Mesa, CA – May 7-8, 2018

The Westin South Coast Plaza

686 Anton Blvd

Costa Mesa, CA 92626 

Phone: (714) 540-2500


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    Who Should Attend

    • All staff, board members, volunteers involved in fundraising.
    • Organizations that can benefit from an infusion of gift income.
    • Newcomers to the field, and those who have been at it for awhile.
    • Fundraisers who want to grow professionally.
    • Those who would like to have their professional batteries recharged.
    • Those who want to become more effective and successful at fundraising.
    • Those who choose to be the best they can be.

    Limited Registration

    There’s limited registration to ensure extensive 
interaction and provide maximum personal attention.

    Philosophy (But Not Much!)

    It’s important to consider what’s new in major gifts fundraising and how this affects making the ask.

    Developing Prospect Strategies

    The real art of major gifts is in the development of strategies. How do you develop the touch? You’ll practice strategies and skills in a small group setting.

    Inside the Head & Heart of a Philanthropist

    Understand the spirit and heart of those who give major funds. We attempt to have a philanthropist join us. You will be able to probe and ask questions regarding the spirit and motivations of their giving.

    CFRE Continuing Education Approved Provider Programs

    ICG is an approved provider of CFRE continuing education unit credits. All courses presented are submitted to CFRE International for review and approval. A CE Tracker is available at all Seminars.


    Here Are Some Things You Will Take Home From a 2017 Institute Seminar

    A Registered Certificate of Seminar participation and completion.

    PLUS...Valuable resources from our Tool Chest that will enhance your fundraising with more than two hundred presentation outlines, checklists, relevant reprints, and a host of fundraising tools to put to immediate use upon your return.

    PLUS...Regular mailings from the Institute & Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners regarding new ideas in fundraising, pertinent new techniques, and innovative approaches to getting the gift.

    PLUS...A group of men and women— fellow alumni— with whom you will be networking and in regular contact.

    Seminar Scholarship Application

    A limited number of partial scholarships are available. The Review Board of the Institute will be particularly encouraging to relatively new organizations, those that serve primarily a minority constituency, or those especially affected by cutbacks in government funding. Scholarship Application (pdf)