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Breakout sessions tackle some of fundraising's toughest challenges - and engage you in examining fresh approaches to revenue generation that strengthen your organization. 

Session presentation slides and handouts are available for download following the conference for continued learning.

Conference Keynote announcement coming soon!

Grant Prospecting / Writing

Demystifying Government Grants: Tackling Your First Application

Presented by Emily Greenwald Johnson of Tikkun Grant Advancement

Build your confidence with government grant applications! Through presentation, small group, and individual exercises, learn how to determine whether funding will contribute to or detract from your mission, gain practical skills to create a compelling proposal, discover authentic ways to incorporate lived experiences as a key argument for funding, and pick up strategies for project management and assessing your application against scoring criteria and writing prompts.

Relationship Building

How to Have Challenging Conversations with Donors and Stay Whole

Presented by Sarah Staiger and Laura Vitelli of Vitelli and Associates

Gain confidence in your skills and the tools needed to navigate sticky and challenging discussions with donors, while maintaining your authenticity and wellbeing. Focusing on Values-Based Fundraising, you'll learn how to strengthen your capacity and raise money from a place of strength while keeping your community at the center.

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Transformative Storytelling Aligned with Social Change

Presented by Belle Alvarez of Common Hope

For many, giving programs have been presented as an altruistic opportunity to do good, creating a binary of fortunate and unfortunate, where the problem is in the individual circumstances of marginalized communities instead of the settler colonial systems that created inequity. Through education and storytelling, you'll start to reconsider your responsibility in changing systems you may benefit from, and leave with practical tools for how to break the ice around complex topics in a way that invites people to engage in social justice that centers community-led solutions.

Relationship Building

Finding Your People: Values-Driven Fundraising

Presented by Tracine Asberry and Julia Moffit of St. Paul Youth Services

Aligning fundraising with values can often be easier in theory than in practice. Learn from this nonprofit's experience doing just that, including diversify their funding pools while remaining committed to those values, and using their values to grow partnerships. You'll gain practical implications of values-driven fundraising, with an emphasis on giving you actionable tools to grow your fundraising while assessing potential partnerships through the lens of your values. 


Ask Me Anything: Arts Board & Regional Arts Councils

Presented by Masami Kawazato of Metropolitan Regional Arts Council; Jamie Marshall of Minnesota State Arts Board; Becca Graves of Arrowhead Regional Arts Council

Minnesota is the only state in the nation with a constitutional amendment that guarantees public dollars to arts and culture. Through the State Arts Board and the 11 Regional Arts Councils, these public funds reach all 87 counties in Minnesota. This experienced panel will share an overview of this funding system, with plenty of time to 'Ask Me Anything' with attendee questions. 

Relationship Building

Let's Build a Menu: How to Be Appetizing to Major Donors and Sponsors

Presented by KD Bauer of Next in Nonprofits; Dick Senese of LGBTQ Leaders in Higher Education 

This session flips the fundraising funnel on its head, sharing a real-life case study of how a tiered menu approach led to exceeding their revenue goals. Learn strategies to spice up your fundraising campaigns by defining multiple clear engagement opportunities, and cook up your own mission-driven, multi-option menu for 2024, with time to share and workshop in small groups.

Relationship Building

Cognitive Impairment, Dementia, and Donors: Policy and Practice

Presented by Robert Hofmann of University of Minnesota, Duluth; Jon Severson of Science Museum of Minnesota; Stu Silberman and Tammy Tesky Ausen of Whole Woman’s Health Alliance

Nonprofits risk litigation, negative media, loss of reputation, and other exposure—unless they have sound policies, procedures, and trained staff who are prepared for the inevitable conversation with a donor or prospect that seems to be experiencing confusion, has difficulty communicating, or may be exhibiting poor judgment. Through situational case studies, develop your awareness of the dementia crisis and gain recommendations for your organization to mitigate these challenges.

Relationship Building

Planned Giving - Nothing to Fear

Presented by Christine Pulkrabek of L'evate Non-Profit Consultants

Planned giving is a wonderful opportunity for your donors to experience joy in their giving, but many nonprofits don't have a planned giving program or experience talking with donors about planned gifts. Learn how to build or elevate your organization's planned giving, including tips on how to educate and promote legacy giving, what to listen for in conversations and questions to consider in various situations with supporters, staff, and board members.

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Equitable Fundraising Futures: A Collaborative Breakout Discussion

Presented by Liz Paul of Connections Ministry; Sophie Hoiseth of YWCA Mankato

Embark on a collaborative exploration of fundraising through an equity lens within the structures of capitalism. This session invites you to actively contribute and collectively grapple with challenging questions. How can we guide our fundraising systems towards equity? What strategies can we employ to hold funders accountable? And crucially, how do we maintain a both/and perspective?

Relationship Building

Bridging Cross-Cultural Gaps in Fundraising and Communications

Presented by Donia Hanaei of Global Rights for Women 

Dive into the intricacies of bridging cross-cultural gaps in fundraising and communications to maximize your giving and donor engagement, including racial groups, cultural groups, generational groups, and religious groups. Through interactive discussions and practical strategies, you'll learn how to tailor your fundraising approaches and communication tactics to resonate with diverse audiences, fostering stronger connections and driving greater impact for your organization. 

Research / Trends

Leverage AI for Donor Segmentation & Data Analysis

Presented by Eric Molho of BonPartners

ChatGPT and other online tools are frequently leveraged for writing and text functions, but have you explored how to use these free tools to analyze your donor data? Explore how you can take your existing donor data to glean new insights so your appeals can become more efficient. Bring your laptop to start your own journey during this session! 

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Unlocking Impact: Harnessing the Power of Social Enterprise

Presented by Carley Kammerer of Wildflyer Coffee 

Social enterprise holds considerable promise to advance nonprofits by creating greater flexibility to fund programs not based on donor restrictions. Learn from this organization's experience on why reliance on traditional philanthropic giving can slow down or even harm organizational growth and consider how to use earned income revenue streams to fund your mission and engage new audiences.

Relationship Building

It's Deductible! Keeping the IRS and Your Donors Happy

Presented by Nancy Brown of Winona Community Foundation 

In this interactive session, gain the knowledge and resources you need to record, receipt, and acknowledge gifts that steward your donors while not running afoul of the IRS. 

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Funky Fundraising: Redefining Nonprofit Norms with Community-Centric Philanthropy

Presented by Myrtle Lemon-Todd of Queer Equity Institute

Fundraising as a whole has been rooted in cisgender, heterosexual, whiteness. But does it have to be this way? Say goodbye to typical donor-hosted fundraisers and hello to dynamic, community-centric donation streams that bring people together. Discover the importance of disrupting traditional nonprofit fundraising methods to adapt to changing community needs and donor preference, learn from successful case studies, identify practical techniques for developing community-centric donation streams that foster meaningful connections and ongoing support, explore platforms and technologies that can enhance implementation and management, and develop a personalized action plan for integrating creativity and community into your fundraising strategy. 

Relationship Building

Communications that Build Donor Relationships & Lifetime Value

Presented by Tom Struthers of TurnKey Direct Marketing, Inc; Gay Gonnerman of The Food Group; Jennifer Beaudry of The Diocese of Duluth

Beyond prioritizing time spent with donors, development pros need tools and strategies working for you all year long. Dive into an effective annual plan of donor touchpoints to maximize giving today and in the future, including strong appeals, newsletters, donor thank yous and appreciation, event invitations, impact reports, tax substantiation, and new donor welcome packages.  

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Inclusive Fundraising and Democratizing Philanthropy

Presented by Sarah Driever of Children’s Hospital Association benefitting Children's Minnesota

Get ready to challenge your current fundraising efforts by examining your language, messaging, beneficiary participation, and culture for inclusivity, accessibility, and cultural competency. Dive into inclusive fundraising through discussions on how to overcome barriers and biases that often exclude certain groups from fully participating in philanthropic efforts.

Relationship Building

Advocating for Fundraisers of Color

Presented by Ashley Hemnarine of The Family Partnership 

It's difficult for fundraisers of color to grow in a space that doesn't look like them and doesn't know how to nurture them. It is possible, though. Learn how to create an inclusive environment, what BIPOC folks need to thrive in development, and how to advocate for them in a historically white philanthropy industry through real-life scenarios and interactive discussion.

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Disrupting Philanthropy: Where to Begin

Presented by Sophie Hillmeyer of Life House; Jordon Johnson

Let's examine the historical perspective of philanthropy and how a deficit-based framework and mentality centers individuals and creates underlying competitiveness for funding amongst organizations. Discover ways to shift your philanthropic narrative that instead focuses on cultivating relationships, centers racial healing, and puts forth a vision of honoring our interconnectedness in our work to lift up communities and future generations. 

Relationship Building

Building a Strong Qualification Program & Active Mid-Level Giving

Presented by Jacquelyn Peters of Campbell & Company

As organizations experience an aging donor population and donor fatigue, it’s important to develop strategies to support your future major gift prospects. Gain understanding and confidence in implementing a successful qualification program and the challenges you might encounter, how it should be integrated into your other fundraising programs, and how developing a formal or informal mid-level giving program can be a valuable use of organizational resources. 

Grant Prospecting / Writing

Demystifying Program Evaluation for Grantwriters

Presented by Nicole Conti of Rise, Incorporated; Kelsey McKenna of Shavlik Family Foundation 

Demystify the increasingly common evaluation questions in grant proposals. Gain confidence using the functional definitions of common evaluation terms (i.e., objective vs. goal, output vs outcome, logic model, ROI), learn strategies for writing sustainable goals for your organization, and unpack what funders are looking to see in these sections. You're encouraged to come to the session with an existing grant proposal with a goals and objective section to workshop. 

Relationship Building

This is Awkward, But Your Data is Leaking

Presented by Jenny Floria of Crescent Cove

Congratulations, you have a donor database! But, like a new car, if you don’t perform routine maintenance, pretty soon you have a clunker and are shopping around for a new database provider. Dive into the basic maintenance and processes needed to ensure that you have the data needed to make strategic fundraising decisions and best steward your donors.

Relationship Building

Holding Transformative, Meaningful Meetings that Build Community

Presented by Clara Lind of GiveMN; Courtney Backen of AFP-MN and GiveMN

Discover how to cut through the mundane and create conditions for powerful, values-aligned meetings. From donor and funder meetings (yes, even galas!) to your weekly staff check-ins, you’ll learn how to saturate purpose into every aspect of your next gathering to avoid burnout, unnecessary stress, and confusion for your peers and supporters.

Philanthropic Reform / Disruption

Abundant Strategy: Collaborating and Sharing to Sustain Ourselves

Presented by Alfred Walking Bull of Tending the Soil; Rebecca Song of Inquilinxs Unidxs; Wendy Darst of CTUL

Adapting to funding priority shifts, feeling supported in executive- and director-level work, and staying true to your mission are all difficult challenges to navigate. Develop your understanding of how nonprofits are adapting to withstand funding shifts within philanthropy and learn from colleagues with experience navigating those shifts. Fundraising collaborations are most important than ever to ensure that competition makes everyone stronger, not just organizations with the most resources.