For those of you who attended our Annual Conference and Exposition, we hope you had an enriching, inspiring and motivating conference and are returning to your ministry with new energy and ideas! If you weren’t able to join us this year, here are a few highlights of the presentations, speakers, and discussions you missed.
Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, OSF, President and CEO of NCDC opened the conference with the first general session. During her address, she reflected on the song “By My Side,” from the musical Godspell. The song asks “Where are you going and can you take me with you? The song also challenges us to put a pebble in our shoe and to call the pebble “Dare.”
Sr. Georgette challenged the audience to a series of dares they face as those called to the ministry of fundraising. Her “triple dog dare” asked us to read the Gospel story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus and to remember their time at the conference, “When not our hearts burning within us, when he spoke to us on the road.”
“Let’s dare together to make this NCDC community and the Catholic fundraising community stronger than ever.” – Sr. Georgette Lehmuth, OSF
General session speaker Denise San Antonio Zevan challenged the audience to ask themselves what it would take to look in the mirror and know that their organization is making a meaningful, enduring difference – beyond what would have happened if it had never existed. She described a common definition of “high performance,” one that was developed by dozens of nonprofit leaders from across the country, and detailed seven organizational pillars that can help nonprofit organizations progress on their journey toward high performance.
"The highest performing organizations know that people and culture are key and invest in both."– Denise San Antonio Zeman
On the final day of the conference, attendees were challenged to live like millennials and use their mobile devices to interact with presenters during the session “Digital Engagement: Reaching Millennials and Younger Donors.” A series of four presenters from organizations ranging from the United Way to the Jewish Federation’s “ELI talks” gave their best tips on how they have successfully connected with and engaged younger donors.
Breakout Sessions and Discussions
The 40+ hours of breakout sessions gave attendees opportunities to “dig deep” into specific topics. Some of the hottest topics included major giving, reaching younger donors, planned giving, and social media. Additional sessions prompted attendees to reflect on their call to ministry and to build a culture of philanthropy within their development program.
The newest addition to the conference, Innovation Bazaar, featured organizations using truly unique means of funding and living their missions. For example, while working on education and solar power initiatives in communities in the Congo, the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur created several cyber cafés in order to provide free wireless access and strengthened communications for the communities in which they work; the cafés have become learning centers, business hubs, and education centers for community members to learn and share technology access and skills.
Over 70 companies showcased their goods and services in the 3-day exposition. The exposition featured companies specializing in Catholic fundraising and who understand the needs of those in the ministry of fundraising.
Overall, there was a spirit of collaboration, inspiration, education, and reflection at the conference. Attendees walked away feeling that it truly was “where catholic fundraisers need to be.”
“Joining with others facing same challenges and sharing is what encourages and sustains me and I always come home with a fresh outlook.” – Sally Pietrofitta of Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts (Linwood, NJ).