CASE Spring Institute

A few weeks ago, as April drifted into May, I was privileged enough to attend CASE Spring institute.  For those unaware, CASE stands for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.  They have offices in Washington DC, London, Singapore and Mexico City.  They focus on Advancement – alumni relations, fundraising and marketing & communications.

Spring Institute is an intensive week long conference run every year and aimed at fundraisers.  2014 was hosted in Loughborough.  I didn’t see any of the city at all, but the hotel and the University are magnificent.  I drooled over their sports facilities!

CASE attract some magnificent people to volunteer and deliver sessions at their conferences.  Joanna Motion, who recently produced a report on the HE philanthropy workforce in the UK, Bob Burdenski (annual fund guru), Lorna Somers (Queen of Major Gifts), Mark Curtis (New College, Oxford).

Jennie Moule, of University College London, was my tutor for the week.  A good match; she is not a front-line fundraiser either, but works on data, prospect research, stewardship etc.

What did I learn?  A lot!

  • That I should have more confidence in my own abilities (I know a lot more than I thought – hence starting this blog)
  • Giving motivation is a combination of head and heart.  In HE we need to focus on the heart – no-one will starve if we don’t get that £5 a month gift, so we need to think about how to motivate people in a different way
  • Talk about impact, not about need.  No-one wants to hear a sob story in HE.  People give to success.
  • Etiquette (a bit hard to demonstrate on a blog – invite me to dinner, I will wow you! 😉 )
  • You are wasting your institution’s money if you do not steward your donor
  • A first gift is very different to a second/third/repeated gift and should be responded to in a different way.  Retention is very important.  The “muddle in the middle” – not the Major donors, or the non-donors
  • Don’t necessarily exclude people from campaigns because they have given a recent gift

Various other things fired off little synapses in my brain getting me thinking about segmentation, KPIs and upcoming projects.  Can’t wait to get started!




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