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Attended by 170 individuals from 52 colleges and universities, the Sharing the Annual Fund Fundamentals Conference, referred to as STAFF, was held for the second year on the Hamilton campus, from July 14-16. “The organization is a voluntary association of 44 member schools from across the country whose purpose is to afford annual fund officers from like-minded institutions the opportunity to address professional issues of the day from a common perspective,” explained Director of Annual Giving J. Frederick Rogers. The annual summer conferences, held in recent years at Denison, Bowdoin, Lafayette, Union and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, provide the venues for these exchanges. Hamilton, a charter member of the organization, now hands off conference responsibilities to Davidson College for the next two years.

“Membership is by invitation and is conditional upon meeting a rigorous set of standards. Representatives of member schools are mutually supportive between the formally scheduled conferences,” said Rogers.  “Comprehensive annual results surveys allow members to evaluate their performance and track national trends among leading liberal arts colleges.” Conference attendees from 43 member and nine guest institutions came from colleges across the country.

The conference began with a keynote address titled How Your College Works, by Daniel F. Chambliss, Eugene M. Tobin Distinguished Professor of Sociology, focused on his new book, How College Works. “Attendees enjoyed hearing a keynote not directly about fund-raising but about the essence of what our colleges actually do. Good discussion followed about applying Chambliss’ theories to alumni engagement,” said Rogers. Other sessions addressed strategic issues, assessment, partnering with advancement services and information technology services departments, developing the next generation of volunteers and the significance of leadership-level gifts, among other topics.

Rogers served as the host director of the conference; Ellen Rainey, Executive Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, presented a session titled “Parents on the Move: Expanding, Nurturing and Delivering Support.” Director of Alumni Relations Sharon Rippey led the conference’s event-planning which included a boat tour of the Eric Canal, a highlight of the conference.

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