30 Seconds with the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy’s Closing Plenary Speaker

We recently caught up with John List who will open the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy with The Why of Generosity: The Economics of Why we Give.  Here’s a quick inside peak into the professor and what he has planned for October 8.

Who Am I?  I am the Homer J. Livingston Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Dept. of Economics at the University of Chicago.  I stumbled upon charity when I was asked to raise money for a newly formed center at the University of Central Florida.

 About My Talk.  “The Why of Generosity: the Economics of Why We Give ” will explore why people give, what keeps them committed to the cause, and learn how important the incentives are when we attract and retain donors. 

How My Session Will Help Attendees Become Better Fundraisers.  One cannot begin to understand why people give without field experiments.  The presentation will show this fact, show how easy it is to run a field experiment, and set the process in motion how the audience can begin the process of becoming a 'feedback maximizer,' which is code for a top fundraiser.

 Why the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy?   I believe there are billions of dollars left on the fundraising table.  I want to help fundraisers attract those dollars!

60 Seconds with the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy’s Closing Plenary Speaker

We recently caught up with Kimberly Mitchell, President of the Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services, who will close the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy with her inspiring talk, One Act of Kindness Can Change a Life.  Here’s a quick inside peak into her keynote address on October 8.

Who Am I? I’m currently the President of Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services.  I am a 17- year Navy veteran and in my last 2 years, I served on the Joint Staff as the Deputy Director of the Warrior and Family Support office working for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, US Navy.  In that capacity, we became very familiar with non-profit organizations working to assist military veterans, service members, wounded warriors, children of our fallen, and families of our fallen.  In learning about all of these efforts across the country, I gained a deep understanding of the need for private-public partnerships and the critical role non-profits and philanthropic efforts play in working critical issues facing our communities, our society, and our culture. 

About My Talk. I will discuss how we as a community and a nation, engaged in our busy everyday lives and schedules, can find the time to always do “an act of kindness” for someone in need.  I will also discuss how, as leaders, defining our “why” is so essential in everything we do and what influences us to make those decisions.  I will focus on the veterans/military family community and a few individuals who I have met who have helped me define my “why” and why I choose to continue to work to enable our veterans and their families to thrive where they live.

How My Session Will Help Attendees Become Better Fundraisers. Fundraising is becoming increasingly difficult as resources become more limited.  As the wars end, we, as a nation, cannot forget about those who have served in our nation’s military and the challenges they will continue to face. 

Why the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy? The theme, Generosity: Gifts that Shape Us, Gifts that Shape the Future, motivated me to participate in this year’s conference.  I have been blessed to have support during the critical events that have occurred in my life.  Because of community support and generosity, and random acts of kindness, my story is proof that anyone, when given the right opportunity and right support network, can achieve amazing things.

60 Seconds with Midwest Conference on Philanthropy Featured Speaker Debra Natenshon

Debra Natenshon, CEO of The Center for What Works at The Rensselaerville InstituteWe recently caught up with Debra Natenshon, CEO of The Center for What Works at The Rensselaerville Institute, who will present an emerging philanthropy model during her talk, “Funder to Investor: A Different Mindset for Different Results,” at  Midwest Conference on Philanthropy.  Here’s a quick inside peak into her feature presentation on October 8.

Who Am I?

I'm passionate about leaders who want to improve and feel an urgency to understand and increase the human gain their organizations are capable of achieving.  I've been in the social sector for a decade, recognized for my outcomes research and now expending all efforts to effectively translate that research into practical tools for individual clients, cohorts, and the sector at-large. Outcome thinking and management for nonprofits is directly related to outcome funding, in that it takes a smart investor approach to get the results needed to really move needles in our sector. 

About My Talk.

Fundraising professionals are used to selling their services to grant-makers who spend most of their time focused on the due-diligence, front-end of grant-making.  I will encourage a different message and relationship - a longer-term, more engaged one that involves two-way communication with an investor.  This requires the nonprofit to gain clarity about results - even more important than describing the details of programs and activities.  It requires open and ongoing teaming with program staff and executive leadership and a shared definition of success as well as how to track and report that success.  I will discuss a historic shift in the audience from funders of programs to investors in results.

How My Session Will Help Attendees Become Better Fundraisers.

The audience will gain an awareness about the variance in the philanthropic audience and be better prepared for meetings with investors.  Most importantly, they will feel an urgency to work with their organizations to shift toward outcome thinking and management as the norm.

Why the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy?

I am honored to be part of this conversation. AFP is a powerful network and collectively there is potential to spark a shift from what our agencies DO to what we ACCOMPLISH, from how much we RAISE, to how many people's lives CHANGE.  We need to do better to start changing the trajectory of solving issues.  If my talk penetrates a fraction of the audience to take action, to start these conversations internally, to focus on changing from beautifully written proposals that describe activities to attempting to define targeted results, it will have been time well spent!

Two More Weeks! Counting Down with Jonny Imerman

We’re counting down the two weeks until the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy, and Jonny Imerman, Founder of Imerman Angels (IA), is as excited as we are to gather with area fundraising professionals on October 8! Imerman, who will present and moderate the Tool Box session, “Crowdfunding and Beyond: New Tools and Technologies Will Come and Go, Organizations that can Innovate and Integrate Are Sure to Win,” has a refreshing take on fundraising and social media and took a few minutes to share his philosophy and experience with AFP Chicago.

My foray into philanthropy.

Since day 1, and true today, I have not asked even one person for $1.  Never.  I believe my role should be always all about the mission, and so I remain focused on that.  Most people who give to IA do it unsolicited because our program has touched someone they love - we've IMPACTED a life they care about. I call it "organic development."  It's a "pull" strategy, rather than "push."   This past year we hired a Director of Development, and she does make some asks, but always does so in a gentle way.  

Misconceptions about social media and fundraising I wish to debunk.

I believe that social media campaigns created by big companies - competitions among charities to "get the most votes" - are much more damaging to the charity than most people realize. Such companies use the charity's marketing to promote its corporate brand and sell products.  Yes, these companies give a little money back - if your charity wins, but at what cost to all the charities?  Charities need to think about the cost of flooding their supporters with social media messages they may not be interested in.  

How My Session Will Help Attendees Become Better Fundraisers.

I'll share our unique story of how we've raised funds and how it has evolved.  I promise it's different than anything you've ever heard!  We've made a lot mistakes - still do - and while growing we continue to evolve our philosophy on fundraising.

Why the Midwest Conference on Philanthropy?

I know I will share my true, honest, completely open story and I hope my perspective towards fundraising is helpful to the audience!  I’m fired up to meet everyone and have a healthy, positive discussion!

Seven Reasons Why You Should Join Us for The Midwest Conference on Philanthropy on October 8!

1. Learn from regional and national leaders in the non-profit sector.

2. Expand your professional network during the networking lunch and Rush Hour Retreat.

3. Dig deeper into a wide range of topics such as board development and engagement, annual giving, major gifts, managing volunteers, social media tactics and more.

4. Gain clarity on how to manage and enhance your career as a professional fundraiser.

5. Become familiar with the shifts and changes in philanthropy and be prepared for what’s next.

6. Hear inspiring stories of generosity from donors and peers.

7. Take advantage of the only one-day, one-of-a-kind experience that the Midwest has to offer.

Click here to join us for the Conference —the midwest's premier learning event for fundraising professionals. 

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