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Seize the Opportunity


Seminars for Raising Funds in Tough Times
High-Impact Strategies for Major and 
Planned Gift Fundraisers


Nashville, Tennessee, March 15-17, 2021 (RESCHEDULED)

Cincinnati/Covington, Kentucky - April 26-28, 2021 (RESCHEDULED)

Costa Mesa, California, May 17-19, 2021 (RESCHEDULED)


Seminar Online Registration


It’s a puzzling phenomenon. It may seem counter-intuitive, but in tough financial times people actually give more.

But they give to organizations they care greatly about. Those organizations that have done an outstanding job of thanking them properly and often, and where they feel their gift has been celebrated and used effectively.

Donors become more selective in tough times. They choose organizations that demonstrate how much the donor means to those the organization serves.

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The Dynamics that Drive Major Gifts and Identifying Your Top Probable Donors for Planned and Major Gifts

We’ll discuss institutional positioning strategies, market segmentation, donor profiles, and gift options - and how they affect the exchange relationship.

Learn what forms donors decision-making and the type of involvement that is most important to them. Is it a planned gift, or a major gift? Is it a renewal gift or newly acquired gift? There’s a distinct difference between an ongoing annual gift and the elements that occur in a major gift. When you make your call, you must be aware of the components of each. What are the qualifiers of a major donor? Financial capability is primary. Is their interest in your organization cultivatable? As the size of the donor’s gift decision grows, we explore what occurs in that process and how best this is handled by the organization.

Managing The Major Gifts Process Through Moves Management™

A pragmatic, workable framework for managing the long-term relationships involved in major gift fundraising. You will determine the sequence of donor decision-making, and where your organization might fit along with their obligations already in place.

Who are the natural partners and primary players in the process of securing the major gift. We will discuss the important role of the moves manager. Donors give to the magic of an idea. Invite your probable donor to consider investing in your organization.

The Anatomy of a Gift Solicitation

Every solicitation varies according to the donor. Every ask must be back by a case for support. You talk about benefits, not needs, not features. Donors are skeptical of the institution that isn’t financially stable. They give to bold, heroic, and audacious programs rather than needy institutions.

You won’t get a major or planned gift by sending a letter. And you won’t get a gift by calling on the telephone— not of the size you want. To get a gift at the level required, you’re going to have to call on the donor in person.

There will be solicitation. There will be negotiation. And there will be closing. We discuss each step, the problems that can arise, and the opportunities that help you come out a winner.

Developing and Implementing Strategies for the Major Gift

We explore all areas of making a successful ask involving the Fundraiser, the Volunteer, and the Donor. There is extensive interaction and role playing that is fun and instructive. You will learn to design strategies so it is clear:

WHO does the Asking?
WHAT are you asking for?
HOW much are you asking for?
WHERE are you asking?
WHEN are you asking?

Responding To Objections

Great opportunity stands beside you in the form of objections. They are important because they tell you where you are in the solicitation process. You need to understand what the prospect really means by a question or expressed concern. This session will provide you with techniques for responding to objections and learning to interpret hidden meanings and messages. If there is hesitancy you need to probe and to listen.

Is it the institution?
Is it the project?
Is it the amount I asked for?
Is it the timing?

The Intentional Fundraiser— Tammy Zonker (Nashville & Cincinnati)

We all know activity does not equal effectiveness, yet the daily barrage of incoming email and unexpected requests can easily consume our time and derail us from accomplishing what’s most important to our success. Whether you’re a small shop or managing a large team, The Intentional Fundraiser is a system for establishing role clarity, priorities and performance metrics for busy fundraising pros. Participants will receive a link to download The Intentional Fundraiser Toolkit of high-performing templates.

Cultivating Gifts from Millennials— Tony Penn

A recent giving study concludes that today’s Millennial generation is fast becoming a major force in philanthropy. A noted economist recently shared this important fact, “Millennials will be the richest generation ever.” [Paul Donovan, Chief Global Economist, UBS Wealth Management] Are you ready for the Future of Philanthropy? We’ll discuss proven strategies to help you get there.

10 Secrets to Optimizing Your Online Process for Maximum Dollars Raised and Retained – Steven Shattuck (Nashville & Cincinnati)

it’s not yet a juggernaut, it is significant enough to pay attention to. And if your online gift processes aren’t operating according to best practices for user-experience and donor stewardship, you may be leaving a lot of money on the table.

In this session, we will examine 10 simple, research-backed fixes that any fundraiser can make to their online donation process. You’ll leave with the confidence that your donation pages and forms can convert any visitor into a donor – and retain that donor for years to come.

Learning Outcomes:

• Understand how and why donors complete your donation forms
• Uncover best practices for conversion rate optimization that maximizes the gift amount and frequency
• Learn how to formulate a retention strategy for online donors through enhanced gift acknowledgement and stewardship

Through the Looking Glass: Self Reflection in a Polarized Society – Birgit Burton

As development professionals, we engage with donors, colleagues, and volunteers from various backgrounds on a daily basis. Sometimes, without meaning to, we judge people. These judgments affect our interactions and our workflow. We will explore research and personal experiences that will help us recognize our unconscious biases on our journey to become more effective fundraisers and better human beings.

The Art and Science of Retaining Digital Donors – Steven Shattuck (Nashville and Cincinnati)

Retention is your most important fundraising strategy, and your online donors are seriously at risk. Among all your donors, they are the least likely to renew their gifts – unless you take specific, creative steps to engage and thank them. This session will help you discover how to maximize the retention rates of your digital donors. We will examine the attributes of online donors, and outline the retention strategies that work best for this slice of your donor

Learning Outcomes:

• Understand what makes online donors tick (their habits, patterns, likes and dislikes)
• Learn how to formulate a retention strategy for online donors
• Understand best practices in digital communications, including email gift acknowledgement and social media content

Leadership and Program Inventory – Examining the “Verities” – Douglas Dillon

What is true fundraising? The process of matching a donor’s vision with the vision of the organization to satisfy the needs of both. Common failures in seeking funds for worthy causes. Dollars chase ideas and never catch up to the need. You didn’t clarify the vision – you didn’t build your case for support. Authenticity beats audacity every time. As yourself, “Do you try to win or help? Do you present or involve? During this session we examine six important fundraising verities.

Operation Rubber Tree – Tammy Zonker (Cincinnati & Nashville)

A Case on Tripling Your Fundraising Results in Three Years. Just as the proverbial rubber tree can experience phenomenal growth in the right environment, philanthropy can also experience transformational growth with the right conditions, pruning and cultivation. This session will guide participants through a case study of a three-year philanthropy operation turnaround, which resulted in 300% growth in contributions in just 36 months. Participants will walk away with tools and strategies for maximizing their philanthropy efforts for increased results 

Stewardship. Creating a WOW for Your Donors – Shannon Duval (Costa Mesa)

What will separate your organization is how you say thank you! Too often it is the last area in which the nonprofit invests. The first gift is the most expensive. Thank you is the “right thing” to do, and secures our future.

“Working within Systemness” – Shannon Duval (Costa Mesa)

Maximizing the Lifetime Value of Your Donors for Fundraising Success – Jay Love (Costa Mesa)

Within your donor database lies untold lifetime value. Unfortunately, many nonprofits fail to properly nurture and steward their donors, and are content with high acquisition and high churn. Why let this enormous asset go underutilized? In this session, we will cover the tenets of effective database management, no matter what program or vendor you use.

We will show examples of best practices in data management, communication segmenting, engagement tracking and reporting in order to help your team work smarter, not harder.

Secrets of the 2nd Gift – the Key to Donor Retention – Jay Love (Costa Mesa)

Fundraisers spend a lot of time acquiring new donors, and with good cause. However, in order to create a long-lasting relationship, the most critical gift isn’t the first; it’s the second. In this session, nonprofit technology veteran Jay Love will make the case for why development professionals should concentrate on acquiring a donor’s second gift in order to achieve sustainable funding, high donor retention rates and high donor lifetime values.

You’ll see examples that can be implemented by any organization, whether you are a one-person shop or a large development department. The results can be astounding when put into daily use!

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RoundTable Electives

Women are Navigating a New Tomorrow – Melanie Sabelhaus

In their relentless pursuit of a better tomorrow, today’s most visionary women see the world not as it is, but what it could be— and then do something about it! Learn how to mobilize this powerful demographic. If you are not engaging them…someone else is.

Philanthropic Analytics – Scott R.Lange

Business intelligence provides insight on your Business intelligence, provides insight on your marketplace, and enables organizations to design strategies that resonate with their clientele, increase business activity and attract new customers. Philanthropic analytics does much the same. It begins with an analysis of your donor population and your prospective donors.

Transforming Your Annual Giving and Major Gifts Program in Preparation for a Campaign – Douglas Dillon

Learn the critical decision points in selecting the appropriate funding model. Discover the 21 significant factors in assessing the right time to launch your program. Prepare staff, administration and board members to optimize success.

Enhancing the Role of the Volunteer – Tony Penn

We are seeing the return of the volunteer not seen widely since the 1970's— the major donor who uses his/her networks, natural partners, philanthropy, and business savvy to open doors for our institutions, enlist the help of others, ask for gifts, and give. We will discuss this and its impact on the future.

Developing Effective Listening Skills – William Sturtevant

The goal of the effective listener/fundraiser is to encourage the prospect to talk, then listen to understand his/her views and unique needs and fears relating to the gift decision. This means listening without an agenda. We will discuss helpful questions, poor listening habits, listening tips, and methods to improve your skills as a listener.

Storyliving: Creating Transformational Major Donor Journeys – Tammy Zonker

They are not your donor. You are their cause. The Storyliving session explores the donor journey from their point of view. You will leave the session equipped and empowered to deeply understand your major donor’s persona and develop your engagement strategies to become part of their life story.

Multi–Channel Communications. Communicating with Donors in this age of Online Fundraising – Steven Shattuck

We live in a digital world. But should the entire nonprofit sector go all-digital? In this roundtable, we'll discuss the value of engaging supporters on multiple channels, how those channels can interact and aid each-other, and how to decide which channels to utilize.

How to be Equitable and Inclusive in Diversifying your Donor Base – Birgit Burton

Through an interactive session we will engage in a deeper understanding of how unconscious bias can influence our work in fundraising and how we might learn to be more inclusive in our prospecting efforts.

Preparing for a Donor Visit with the Leadership of Your Organization – Terry Heilman Sylvester

During this session we will discuss the most important questions you must be able to
answer before you make that donor visit. Do I have all the necessary information and research I’ll need on the person I’m calling on? Are the right people — from the donor’s side and from our organization — coming to the meeting? What’s going on in the donor’s world right now? What pressures is he or she feeling (at work and at home). And, what do I think will be the important follow-up to this meeting? (You can’t leave a meeting
without either a gift or a date for another meeting.)

View Brochure (PDF)

Seminar Online Registration 

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NEW 2021 Rescheduled Dates and Locations 


Nashville, Tennessee - March 15-17, 2021


The Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University - Reservations
2555 West End Ave Nashville, TN 37203 
Phone: 615.321.1300 

Cincinnati/ Covington, Kentucky - April 26-28, 2021

The Marriott Cincinnati RiverCenter - Reservations
10 West RiverCenter Blvd Covington, KY 41011
Seminar group room rate: $169 plus tax

Costa Mesa, California - May 17-19, 2021

The Westin South Coast Plaza - Reservations
686 Anton Blvd Costa Mesa, CA 92626 
Seminar group room rate: $199 plus tax 


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Registration Fee

Standard Individual Registration: $1540 US
Group rate (4 or more): $1530 US
CEO or Supervisor: $1520 US

We offer discounted rates for CEOs/Supervisors (when they attend with staff), and for groups of 4 or more from the same organization.

Registration fee includes breakfast and lunch each day and reception on Monday evening from 5:00pm– 6pm

Breakfast - 7:15am
Program - 8:00am-5:00pm
Reception - 5:00pm-6:00pm

Breakfast - 7:15am
Program  - 8:00am-4:00pm

Breakfast - 7:15am 
Program - 8:00am-3:30pm

When attempting to take advantage of these special rates, please download our PDF Registration Form and send in ONE form per Registrant. Scan forms and email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Online Registration does NOT allow for discounted rates or information for multiple Registrants.

Please call our office (800-234-7777) with questions regarding which rates may apply to your group or how best to register.

There is something quite special that happens when the CEO or supervisor joins a staff for a Seminar experience.

We are committed to this important concept and offer a special fee of $1520.00 for the CEO or Supervisor when they attend with staff.

Download Registration Form (PDF>> for checks, POs and credit card to mail.














    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.


    Throughout the day, at every break, faculty will be available to you to meet one-on-one to discuss any question you may have. We call this ParkBenching! There’s limited registration to ensure extensive 
interaction and provide maximum personal attention.

    Our commitment is to work with you during these very challenging times.  Our faculty have all faced challenges.  We understand what your organization is going through.  Together we will work through these challenges.  Between today and when we are together, we will have a clearer understanding of what we must all do to reach our greatest potential.

    Your Experience Will Be Unique

    Each Seminar in this ICG series is a combination of lecture and small group participation. Programs designed to take you through a series of strategies covering every element of major gift fundraising— from asking for the gift, Moves Management™ strategies, technology, data, and analytics.  Every step will address how we approach what is happening in fundraising today.

    Prioritizing High-Impact Strategies to Secure Your Greatest Success

    It is quite clear that difficult times emphasize the urgency and drama of compelling needs. Here’s what you need to remember. If you are not properly prepared, your fundraising program is almost certainly doomed to failure.

    In good times and bad. Is there a good time for your organization to raise money? Yes. When you are ready. That is a good time to raise money. Not one day before. These challenging times may necessitate a modified and targeted approach included in a special gift initiative, a mini-campaign or a capital campaign.


    CFRE Continuing Education Approved Provider Programs

    ICG is an approved provider of CFRE continuing education. Each year all courses presented are submitted to CFRE International for approval. And continuing education points.


    Here Are Some Things You Will Take Home From a 2020 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.