Past Forums

Consultants should be apprised of the latest innovations, trends and discoveries in the field of philanthropy. APC’s Educational Forums are a unique professional development opportunity that offers members access to top authors, renowned academics and thought leaders gaining insight into the latest innovations, trends and discoveries in the field of philanthropy.

We select host cities in the U. S. and Canada based on their proximity to members, leading foundations, universities and civic projects and pack each gathering with opportunities for practice improvement, collaboration and colleague insight, local interest and fundraising perspective, as well as a little fun.

APC members leave Forums with new knowledge about our sector, innovations and best practices as well as renewed sense of purpose for the important work of philanthropic consulting.

Guest Speakers

Michael Moody

Topic: How Next Generation Donors are Revolutionizing Giving

Michael Moody is Frey Foundation Chair in Family Philanthropy at Grand Valley State University and author of How Next Generation Donors are Revolutionizing Giving. During his presentation, Michael summarized his Next Gen research, then focused on key findings and 10 best practices for fundraising professionals. The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) recently awarded the 2019 AFP/Skystone Partners Prize for Research on Fundraising and Philanthropy to Moody and his co-author, Sharna Goldseker, for this book.

Ellen Bristol

Topic: Fundraising the SMART Way: Predictable, Consistent Income Growth for Your Charity

Ellen and her team created the Leaky Bucket Assessment for nonprofits to help them identify and plug the “holes” in their fundraising. During her workshop, tailored specifically to philanthropic counsel, attendees learned ways to help their clients – and their practices – become more “watertight.”

Ellen is the founder of Bristol Strategy Group. Ellen launched BSG after a 20+year career in information technology sales. She develops our consulting solutions, handles the research, keeps clients happy, maintains quality, manages marketing, and forges business relationships with technology companies, consulting firms, foundations and others. She is the geek-in-chief on all issues related to performance management, fundraising effectiveness, sales-force productivity, and building the capacity to generate revenue, whether the enterprise is non-profit or for-profit.

Adrian Sargeant, PhD.

Adrian SargeantTopic: Growing Philanthropy: Pushing the Needle on the 2% of Income and Building Donor Loyalty: Lessons from Research

Professor Sargeant is one of the world’s leading authorities on how to achieve growth in philanthropy. He is considered a world class, motivational speaker, regularly delivering plenary presentations internationally on topics that include donor retention/loyalty, philanthropic psychology, the social psychology of giving, bequest giving and digital fundraising. 

Professor Sargeant is the Director of the Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at the University of Plymouth. He was formerly the first Hartsook Chair in Fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

Jen Shang

Jen ShangTopic: Philanthropic Psychology: Using Donor Identity to Grow Giving and Enhance the Supporter Experience

Professor Shang is a leading expert and teacher of philanthropic psychology and fundraising. Her research studies how identity (one’s sense of who they are) influences giving and how giving enriches identity. Professor Shang is a Philanthropic Psychologist and Director of Research at the University of Plymouth Hartsook Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy at Plymouth Business School and at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. Her research and teaching focuses on the “Why’s” in understanding the psychology of philanthropy as the only true way of enhancing its practice.

Simone Joyaux

Simone JoyauxTopic: Board Governance

Long time former APC member Simone Joyaux is well known for her books Strategic Fund Development, Firing Lousy Board Members and Keep Your Donors. An international speaker on topics of board governance, volunteer leadership, strategic planning and fundraising, Simone’s candor is what audiences and APC appreciate about her most.

Russell James, III, PhD

Russell James

Topic: Neuroscience of Philanthropy: This Is Your Brain on Giving and More Words That Work, Phrases That Encourage Major & Planned Gifts

Professor James is renowned for his work in incorporating econometric analyses and neuroscience research as it relates to how people make philanthropic decisions (planned giving, estate planning, life insurance, annuities). He is the author of Inside the mind of the bequest donor: A visual presentation of the neuroscience and psychology of effective planned giving communication Dr. James makes and shares words, pictures, and discoveries that help others to encourage generosity. He is the director of graduate studies in charitable planning in the Division of Personal Financial Planning in the College of Human Sciences at Texas Tech University.

Technology of Participation® Training

We brought the ToP Facilitation Methods methodology to APC members with a tailored course designed specifically around our fundraising consulting work. Led by APC member Carole Rylander, Rylander and Associates, with Carole’s guidance APC members finished the Forum with skills in the following:

  • Facilitating group consensus-based workshops
  • Shaping questions that stimulate candid feedback and discussion
  • Acquiring a framework for group process – from a small workshop to a multi-day conference
  • Assembling detailed action plans in less time
  • Saving time and money with increased productivity
APC members report very positive experiences using ToP facilitation methods in our strategic planning, campaign and event consensus and evaluations and matrix and process mapping. At the end of the training participants became ToP facilitators.

Learning Laboratories and Velocity Dialogues

Velocity Dialogues and Learning Laboratories are interactive discussions and case study reviews open to all members during a Forum. Group discussion and collective thinking provide a wealth of insight and tangible advice for improving your practice.

Learning Labs

In Not My First Rodeo, APC consultants shared case studies that did not turn out as they had expected. Client names were redacted to preserve confidentiality, allowing the group to focus on the actual challenges.

Other topics included Overcoming Resistance to Change and the Delivering Not So Positive News to the client. An APC Forum allows for candid feedback and rigorous discussion that supports personal and practice improvement.

Similarly, Consulting Conundrums are member-facilitated break-out sessions around topics such as Campaign Management, Feasibility Studies & Internal Assessments. Members share best practices, resources and proprietary methodologies and resources in a safe and collegial setting.

Velocity Dialogues

These are facilitated, small group conversations around topics relevant to client and practice management and are of great value to members during each Forum. A few examples include: Capital Campaign trends, Developing Leaders, Generational Shifts, What is Today’s Philanthropy, Tech-enhanced Communications (Social Media), Adjusting to Client Preferences.

Velocity Dialogues also include the business of consulting. APC members discuss innovations, changes and new regulations with respect to running a philanthropic consulting practice such as multiple state licensing, entering a new market, innovative proposal strategies, insurance, 1099 vs. employee regulations. Previous Forums have included robust discussions on prospecting for new clients, negotiating contracts, insurance, proposals and more.