Lest anyone be tempted by travel envy, I will say that it rained, snowed, and sleeted today in Flagstaff, AZ where I am attending the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network (ALADN) conference.
Despite the current weather, I have always liked ALADN because of its small size (maybe 125 registrants) and tight focus (fundraising for academic libraries). Almost all participants are either library deans/directors or library development officers. For seven years, I have wanted to bring my own development officer with me so this year I was extremely proud to bring Angela Glover along and introduce her to her new library development colleagues (she may wish to provide her own narrative of the trip).
This year’s conference planners added a “Master” track for experienced fundraisers. I have enjoyed sitting in on these sessions where pro’s trade war stories and generously offer hints and tips. You might think that competitive fundraisers would be reluctant to share tips for success, but this group is the most generous I’ve ever seen. It might be the fact that the Library is often not at the forefront on institutional fundraising priorities, so the people who do it like to band together and help each other out. Already, Angela has had offers of help from some of the most successful library development people out there.
We have had sessions on negotiating with donors, the analytics of donor prospecting (really geeky stuff), building a program from scratch, redirecting troublesome gifts, and moving donors through the pipeline. One panel of library deans gave their perspective on what was helpful (nonrestricted funds) and what was not (small book funds in esoteric areas). Through it all, I kept thinking these are problems I would like to have! I am confident that with Angela’s help, we will begin to show results. I can’t wait!