2024 MNA Fundraising Summit. April 10, Billings. With Mallory Erickson.

Find Your Fundraising Flow: What every changemaker needs to know

Get ready to boost your fundraising game! Take a deep dive into the fundraising mindset, and learn how underlying beliefs and emotions can shape your fundraising outcomes. More importantly, learn how to reshape them and implement the habits that will help you raise more in 2024 and beyond!

April 10, 2024

Time: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM 

Location: Double Tree Hotel, Billings, MT

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Sponsored By

Billings Community Foundation Logo
Visit Billings: Montana's Trailhead
Subset Media

Announcing Keynote Speaker Mallory Erickson

Mallory Erickson is an executive coach, fundraising consultant, and host of the podcast What the Fundraising, aimed at supporting nonprofit leaders to fundamentally change the way they lead and fundraise. Through her signature framework, the Power Partners Formula™️, Mallory provides unique tools to help nonprofits fundraise more from foundations, corporate partners, and individuals. As of 2022, she had trained over 60,000 fundraisers using elements of her unique win-win framework, which combines best practices from executive coaching, science-backed behavior design, and fundraising strategy. If you want to feel differently about fundraising as well as clear and excited about your next steps, Mallory’s work is for you. 

Find out more at: 


8:30 AM – 9:30 AM | Check In

9:30 AM – 10:45 AM | Keynote with Mallory Erickson

Find Your Fundraising Flow: What Every Changemaker Needs Now

Room: Ballroom A

In an era marked by both unprecedented challenges and opportunities, the art and science of nonprofit fundraising are undergoing a radical transformation. This requires more than just strategic know-how; it calls for a profound transformation in how we think and feel about the fundraising process. In this dynamic session, Mallory Erickson brings her wealth of experience in executive coaching and behavior science to the forefront, guiding you through a journey of self-discovery and empowerment. Mallory’s innovative approach, grounded in the principles of Alignment Fundraising, promises to dismantle the psychological barriers that frequently derail fundraising success.

This 60-minute keynote is designed not just as a presentation but as an interactive experience, inviting you to dive deep into the complexities of the fundraising mindset. You’ll learn how underlying beliefs and emotions can shape your fundraising outcomes, and more importantly, how to reshape them to work in your favor. Mallory’s method bridges the crucial gap between theoretical understanding and practical application, ensuring you’re equipped to apply what you’ve learned immediately and effectively.

You’ll walk away with:

  • Concrete strategies to identify and dismantle psychological barriers in fundraising, transforming limiting beliefs into stories of empowerment and success.
  • Deep insights into the science of motivation and behavioral change, providing you with a comprehensive framework to supercharge your fundraising effectiveness.
  • Hands-on executive coaching techniques and behavior design principles to help you manage the emotional complexities of fundraising, ensuring you’re primed to embrace diverse and innovative fundraising strategies with confidence.

Prepare to be inspired, empowered, and ready to transform your approach to fundraising from one of anxiety and hesitation to one of confidence, effectiveness, and alignment with your core mission.

10:45 AM – 11:00 AM | Break

11:00 AM – 12:15 PM | Breakout Sessions A

A1: Magnetic Storytelling: How to tell the right story to the right audience to raise more and increase your impact

Room: Ballroom B

Join Mallory Erickson for an illuminating session on the transformative power of storytelling in nonprofit fundraising. Discover how to craft compelling narratives that do more than just share a story—they create context, engage emotions, and build deep connections with your donors. You’ll learn the art of weaving impactful narratives that resonate on a personal level, turning passive listeners into active supporters. Expect to walk away with the insights to harness the emotional pull of storytelling, structure your stories for maximum impact, and drive meaningful action through your narratives. This workshop is your key to unlocking a new level of engagement and support for your cause—without the fluff, just real, actionable strategies that work.

A2: Let’s Demystify Estate and Planned Gifts

Kevin Sylvester, EagleMount

Room: Conference 5

Has “start or expand your planned giving program” been on your to-do list for far too long? Ever felt overwhelmed when your finance committee drop acronyms like CLUTS and CRATS? With over $9 trillion expected to transfer between generations through inheritance over the next 10 years, the Chronicle of Philanthropy and Giving USA refer to the upcoming years as the “Golden Age” of fundraising. From testamentary transfers to split interest gifts, this planned giving session will break down how different giving vehicles work and which donors you should be talking to about them. You’ll leave with tangible steps to begin moving your planned giving program off your to-do list. Strike gold during this Golden Age by better positioning you and your organization to solicit and receive a donor’s charitable estate plan.

Learning Objectives:

  • Marketing your planned giving program – who are your best donor prospects
  • Types of giving mechanisms (gift annuities, beneficiary designations, wills/bequests, CRTS, CLTS)
  • Infrastructure a nonprofit should have in place to launch their planned giving program (recognition, disclosure form, investment account)

A3: Leading with Program Evaluation: Why Embedding Program Evaluation is Critical for Securing Funding and Meeting Your Community’s Needs

Karen Drill, Drill Consulting Group

Room: Skybridge 4 (2nd Floor)

Nearly every funder looks at a nonprofit organization’s approach to program evaluation when deciding whether to fund an initiative; however, this requirement might not be explicitly called “program evaluation.” Instead, funders might use terms like “impact,” “outcomes,” or “data-driven” to indicate they have a program evaluation requirement attached to their grantmaking. Regardless of what it’s called, program evaluation can evoke dread during proposal writing. During this session we will (1) learn how to identify funders’ requirements for program evaluation, (2) be introduced to an inquiry-based approach to program evaluation, (3) see how program evaluation is a systematic, intentional, and ongoing process that is key to leadership, and (4) consider moving away from tacking on a few metrics at the end of a program (to meet the program evaluation requirement) and instead moving toward embedding program evaluation into everything you do.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to identify funders’ requirements for program evaluation
  • Be introduced to an inquiry-based approach to program evaluation
  • Increase awareness of how program evaluation is a systematic, intentional, and ongoing process that is key to leadership

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM | Lunch

1:15 PM – 2:45 PM | Breakout Sessions B

B1: Contemporary Trends and Team-Based Approaches to Major Gifts Philanthropy

Jason Smith, Stillwater Strategy Partners and Mandy St. Aubyn, Help Center, Inc.

Room: Ballroom B

We often say that effective development is difficult, but it’s not complicated. In a session deeply rooted in the real-life experiences, successes and challenges of the Answering the Call Campaign, leaders from Help Center, Inc and Stillwater Strategy Partners will share insights on and trends in major gifts philanthropy today and their impactful efforts to engage board members in all phases of the traditional development cycle. Despite never having mounted a campaign of this scale, and with the board not have been recruited for their philanthropic horsepower, HCI’s governance leaders gave at record breaking levels, identified new potential supporters, played active roles in donor cultivation and took up really powerful seats in well-planned solicitation conversations. As of the end of January, 2024, the organization has raised $3.8 million toward a $4.5 goal in just 14 months.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore challenges to major gifts fundraising and the ability to engage board leaders in it today.
  • Hear real-life examples of how objections and challenges were overcome
  • Come to understand the actionable tips, tactics and processes that led to effective philanthropy and rewarding board engagement in relational development.

B2: Equity through Grassroots Fundraising

Randy Bachmeier, MSU Northern

Room: Conference 5

This session frames equitable fundraising by contrasting two stories from popular culture: the comic strip Wizard of Id and the folktale Stone Soup. The work of social equity is impossible without a fundraising plan likewise founded in the principles of equity, including grassroots fundraising. Beyond establishing appropriate relationships and boundaries with major external donors, equitable fundraising must incorporate community-based strategies. Contributing to an organization by its very nature empowers people to express a voice in its work. Without a contribution, people normally do not feel empowered to express a voice, nor are they likely to meaningfully engage in the work of the organization. Furthermore, without community engagement the organization risks objectification and even dehumanization of the people they intend to serve. This session explores and applies the concepts and principles of direct action, direct service, self-reinforcing cycles, and participatory action research to better understand the necessity of grassroots fundraising strategies.

Learning Objectives

  • Participants will be able to explain and apply the concepts of self-reinforcing cycles within communities as systems in order to develop effective fundraising strategies and plans that also facilitate social equity.
  • Participants will be able to compare and contrast the concepts of direct action and direct service, as well as incorporate the latter into the former in order to develop effective fundraising strategies and plans that also facilitate social equity.
  • Participants will be able to explain and adapt the principles and values of the participatory action research framework in order to develop effective fundraising strategies and plans that also facilitate social equity.

B3: Why AI Matters: A Guide to Harnessing Its Fundraising Power Responsibly

Tim Lockie, The Human Stack

Room: Skybridge 4 (2nd Floor)

Ready or not, AI is here so come and explore AI in fundraising in this unique session which touches on some hands-on tools and opens the floor for guided discussion. See some of the AI tools being used today and dip your toe in with your phone or mobile device. As we see some simple application of AI in fundraising strategies. This approach provides a real-time understanding of AI’s capabilities and benefits.

The latter half transitions to a guided discussion, addressing your questions and concerns about AI, from ethical implications to its role in communication. Led by Tim Lockie, a Fundraising.AI advisor and AI keynote speaker, this segment offers a platform for both AI enthusiasts and skeptics to share and learn. Discuss everything from the basics to deeper concerns in a respectful and open environment. The session aims to provide a basic understanding of AI in fundraising, balancing its potential with responsible usage.

Learning Objectives

  • Explore how are fundraisers using AI and how do I get started.
  • Understand what are the benefits and risks of AI in fundraising.
  • Learn how to create a response to AI instead of reacting to it through emotional awareness.

2:45 PM – 3:15 PM | Break

3:15 PM – 4:45 PM | Breakout Sessions C

C1: Engaging Your Board in Fundraising

Kate Van Waes, Van Waes Consulting

Room: Ballroom B

How often have you heard a board member say they can’t be involved in fundraising because they “don’t like talking about money” or “don’t know anyone rich”? We can help board members understand that ethical fundraising is mostly about building relationships. It’s about getting to know the beneficiaries and supporters of the organization’s programs and forging a true partnership. If it were only about “asking for money,” then organizations wouldn’t be responsive to the communities they serve and would be treating their donors (from small to major) as ATMs. It takes a full board, with a diverse makeup of identities and backgrounds to build that deep connection. In this session, we’ll talk about how to engage your whole board in fundraising, in ways that are authentic to their skills and interests and that strengthen your organization’s partnerships with your donors and communities.

Learning Objectives

  • Set 3 SMART goals related to board member fundraising (what the board will do and what staff will do to support).
  • Develop an outline for a future board meeting session on fundraising engagement.
  • Identify gaps in their current board membership that, when filled, would strengthen connection with donors and beneficiaries and thereby bolster fundraising.

C2: Raising Large and Small Project Funds in a Difficult Economy

Julie Rodda, Rodda Consulting; Lisa Reinschmidt, Community Leadership & Development, Inc. (CLDI); Heather Petty, Love & SONshine Ministries

Room: Conference 5

In this timely session, Julie Rodda (Rodda Consulting, Billings) will invite participants to walk through an insightful, informative and interactive discussion with panelists from two organizations who successfully envisioned, managed and completed capital projects during the past three years.

Our invited panelists are Lisa Reinschmidt, Development Director for Community Leadership and Development, Inc. (CLDI) who completed three campaigns in 4 years (one that had its groundbreaking the week Covid closures took effect across the nation in March 2020!), and Heather Petty, Executive Director of Love & SONshine Ministries, who led a major campaign as the initial project her newly forming nonprofit undertook, with no development team or long-term donors! Both will share what ingredients they say must be present to make campaigns work against all odds.  

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will gain useful insights they can apply regarding varied team structures, replicable ways these panelists included diverse individuals on their team, and what they have found to be key ingredients for successful teamwork – inclusive of the donor who supported the work.
  2. A greater understanding regarding when the use of technology was particularly helpful in these capital campaigns, and in ongoing fund development, when it wasn’t, and what types of technologies these leaders rely upon. This knowledge can be especially when making a case for specific line items in your fundraising budget. 
  3. Participants will be invited to explore these exceptional fundraiser’s Donor relationship insights regarding what drives a donor investment beyond the norm, again and again! These insights can then be uniquely applied to their own efforts for donor relationship building.
  4. Panelists will present practical tips for recognizing when help is needed and how these organizations found the help they needed, including cost saving ways to gain expertise without additional staffing.  

C3: Deconstructing a Federal Grant NOFO with Sue Taylor and Cali Walks Over Ice

Sue Taylor, Development Director, Native American Development Corporation (presenting virtually)

Cali Walks Over Ice, Marketing and Communications, Native American Development Corporation (facilitating in person)

Room: Skybridge 4 (2nd Floor)

This interactive session will allow attendees to gain a better understanding of the Federal Grant process and essential elements to include for a strong proposal. During the session, we will review resources to search for federal, state, and foundation grants; break down a federal Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO); discuss key evaluation criteria components, and then work in small groups to reconstruct a response to the NOFO. Attendees will become familiar with the “alphabet soup”  of federal opportunities and will take away specific strategies to increase their chance of securing federal funding for their organization.

Reserve Your Room

Reserve your room at the DoubleTree Inn in Billings, MT by March 20th, 2024. Group rate is $119/night and group code is “MTN”.

Need a Scholarship?

MNA is committed to providing access to this event for organizations of all sizes and budgets. If you are an MNA member and finances are a concern in attending, please fill out our scholarship form to be considered for reduced registration rates.

For information on cancellations and refunds, please visit our Training Policies page.

Interested in sponsoring? Please reach out to Michael Hale. (406) 449-3717 x1403 or [email protected].