The Colleges recently hosted the Sharing the Annual Fund Fundamentals (STAFF) 26th Annual Conference. STAFF is a 25-year-old group of liberal arts colleges. Its aim is to implement successful and innovative annual giving programs through the sharing of information and networking. Representatives from more than 50 colleges attended this year’s event. President Mark D. Gearan provided the keynote address, followed by an informal gathering and networking event featuring the music of Bob Mastellar ’60.
At the start of the conference, attendees heard from a panel of alumni volunteers who helped define an ideal experience from their point of view. Roundtable discussions throughout the conference focused on subjects such as: partnering with alumni offices; phonathons; young alumni; athletics and faculty/staff campaigns, tips for newcomers, as well as challenges annual fund professionals face.
On Tuesday evening, participants attended a tour, wine tasting and dinner at Ventosa Vineyards with winemaker Jenna LaVita ’08.
Speakers from a number of member colleges provided case studies and advice on pertinent topics. In addition to HWS, speakers represented: Amherst College, Barnard College, Bates College, Bucknell University, Carlton College, Claremont McKenna College, Davidson College, Gettysburg College, Grinnell College, Hamilton College, Haverford College, Middlebury College, Oberlin College, Rollins College, St. Lawrence University, Wellesley College and Williams College.
In addition to experts from liberal arts colleges, presentations were made by global philanthropic consulting firms Bentz Whaley Flessner and Marts and Lundy. Managing associate Mark J. Marshall and Senior Associate Cassie Ritter Hunt of Bentz Whaley Flessner presented a number of talks during the conference, and Bruce McClintock, chair of Marts and Lundy co-present with Maria Aldrich, director of the annual fund at Davidson College.