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Fundraising Summit inspires full house in Goppert

August 28, 2014

Fundraising professionals – about 450 strong – received a veritable smorgasbord of information about their trade during the Inspired Fundraising Summit 2014, held Aug. 14 in Goppert Theatre on the Avila University campus.

Attendees received full doses from the fundraising side – by way of a stirring and entertaining presentation by world-renowned fundraising expert Adrian Sargeant, Ph.D. – as well as the philanthropic side – via a panel discussion featuring three of the Kansas City area’s most distinguished and revered philanthropists, Henry Bloch, William Dunn Sr. and Jeanne Hamilton Olofson ’92, ’94, ‘11.

Adrian SargeantThe program began with Sargeant urging the audience of nonprofit professionals in attendance to spend less time thinking about their donations and more time learning about their donors and potential donors. Get more into the psychology of the donor and fundraising, Sargeant said, and it will result in higher donations across the board.

“We need to engineer a fundamental shift in the way we think about donors,” said Sargeant, a former Hartsook chair in fundraising at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University and a visiting Hartsook professor at Avila. “For instance, giving social information to donors increases their gift by 10 percent. Imagine if we could increase every donor by 10 percent?”

Sargeant offered other tidbits, such as asking donors to sign their names instead of print – it gives them greater ownership – and pointing out a moral identity of a cause can increase giving, particularly among female donors. Effective fundraising also seems to be gender specific – men give more to male fundraisers and women more to female fundraisers.

Bloch, Olofson and DunnPhilanthropists Bloch, Dunn Sr. and Olofson discussed personal stories of what it has meant to them to give back to their communities. Olofson, who has received three degrees from Avila, waxed poetically about her love for the University and the improvements her contributions have helped bring about.

“When I donate to an organization, they also get me,” she said. “I want to be involved in the organizations I believe in.”

All three panelists pointed out that no donation is too small to not be recognized.

“From a $100 donation to $1 million, it all adds up to success,” Dunn said.

Bob HartsookDirectly after the panel discussion, Avila President Ron Slepitza, Ph.D., CSJA, awarded Bob Hartsook, JD, Ed.D., founder and major benefactor of the Hartsook Institute at Avila and chairman of Hartsook Companies, the first presidential philanthropy medal.

The Inspired Fundraising Summit was presented by Avila and Hartsook Institutes for Fundraising in partnership with Nonprofit Connect and Association of Fundraising Professionals. Avila is one of three institutions to offer a fundraising master’s program, and the University plans on bringing the program online in 2015 to make it available to a broader audience.


View the Event Photos


About Avila University
Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.