Advancement Officers Leadership Development Conference

October 21-22, 2019

Member & Affiliates: $439 per person 
Non-Member: $639 per person

  • Location: ABHE Weber Center for Leadership Development, Orlando, FL
  • Full two-day program
  • Three night’s lodging at the nearby SpringHill Suites by Marriott
  • Refreshments and 7 meals
  • Conference resources

Download Program Schedule

Conference Overview: Can anything match the challenge, the pressure, and the potential of resource development for institutions of biblical higher education? The greater the vision, the greater the need, and courageous fundraisers step into the gap to see dreams come true. Consider practical and principled insights to strengthen your ministry. Learn from advancement leaders who have helped hundreds of institutions raise millions of dollars and more importantly, cultivated priceless relationships with friends who enrich the legacy of their school.

Framing the Work of Advancement
Presenter: Brad Layland, President, The Focus Group
Overview: How do wise advancement leaders frame the nature of their work? How do they understand the work of fundraising at a principled level and translate this into an effective strategy and plan that produces results? Learn from a distinguished advancement leader some powerful principles that can transform your ministry.

    • Moving from transaction-based fundraising to principle-based fundraising
    • Understanding the fundamental framework for relational major donor fundraising
    • Changing your messaging from need/surviving to vision/thriving
    • Empowering your board and other constituents to be volunteer fundraisers

Donor Relations – Understanding & Engaging the Heart & Mind of Your Donors
Presenter: Brad Layland
Overview: The work of fundraising is about relationships, and this will never rise above how well you understand the heart and mind of your donors. Take a fresh look at the core values of donor relations and consider ways to enrich your web of relationships, taking every donor seriously, but not treating every donor the same.

    • Thinking about giving through the eyes of your donors – their motivation & connection
    • Knowing what matters to your major donors – outcomes and reporting that matters
    • Treating donors with respect by having a year-long plan

Understanding the World of Foundation Grants
Jay Barber, Sr, Fellow, The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust & Brad Layland
Overview: Foundation grants play a unique role in institutional fundraising strategy and take a unique plan for solicitation and engagement. Consider practical steps for effectively engaging with foundations — with wise insights from the Senior Fellow of a major Christian foundation who’s given over $1 billion to charitable causes.

    • Screening foundations for mission alignment
    • Understanding the purpose and processes of foundations
    • Writing a compelling foundation grant proposal
    • Building the right relationship
    • Documenting results with outcomes and impact

Taking Your Annual Fund to the Next Level
Presenter: Ron Haas, Vice President, The Timothy Group
Overview: The value of an advancement leader who can set and consistently reach annual fund resource development goals is solid gold. Then, of course, there’s the encore challenge of growing this year after year. Take a careful look at your annual fund strategy and consider creative ideas that can take your efforts to the next level. Learn from a highly successful advancement leader how to grow your results, build your team, and be more effective in securing resources to fund the mission of your institution.

    • Taking a fresh look at the basics of an effective annual fund
    • Learning from an advancement audit – looking under the hood at how you’re doing
    • Testing results for ROI
    • Considering creative ideas for annual fund expansion
    • Crafting the plan, calendar, assignments, and accountability

Preparing for a Successful Capital Campaign
Terry Munday, Retired VP for Advancement, Indiana Wesleyan University
Overview: Nothing taps the potential of the advancement team like a capital campaign. And nothing presents a greater challenge. What are the essential steps for successful planning and execution? Learn from the journey of a highly effective advancement officer and successful leader of many capital campaigns.

    • Considering the benefits of a feasibility study and professional counsel
    • Choosing the right goals and strategy; crafting the case statement
    • Getting organized; knowing when to go public
    • Engagement with the president, board, and major donors
    • Identifying new donors, effective asks, meaningful appreciation

Tapping the Potential of Planned Giving
Terry Munday
Overview: We are entering a period of unprecedented wealth transfer and smart institutions will align their fundraising efforts with a focus on planned giving. Whether in a capital campaign, annual fund or planned giving initiative — what are effective ways to connect with seniors who are deciding where and how they will give their accumulated wealth?

    • Grasping the magnitude of the current wealth transfer
    • Keys to including planned giving in your fundraising strategy
    • Creative ideas to spark fresh consideration for legacy giving
    • Getting started, regardless of your size and situation
    • Knowing what to expect and planning well

The Acquisition & Cultivation of Major Donors
Clark Dickerson, Founder; Dickerson, Baker & Associates
Overview: Do you have an effective strategy for identifying and connecting high-capacity donors to your institution? Is this done consistently and intentionally, engaging key leaders including the president, advancement leaders and the board? Consider keen insights from a distinguished fundraising consultant who has trained and helped many others take their major donor strategy to the next level.

    • Screening your current donors for major giving potential
    • Identifying fresh sources for major donors
    • Creating a principled strategy for major donor cultivation
    • Strategic assignments

The Art and Science of Asking
Clark Dickerson
Overview: The principle is irrefutable – the major reason donors don’t give is because they’re not asked. This simple but profound act – making a clear, appropriate, and compelling ask may be the single greatest weakness in most advancement officers’ practice. Learn from an excellent coach of how he has helped presidents and advancement officers overcome their fear and develop a personal pattern of effective asks.

    • Disarming the fears and anxiety of asking
    • Knowing when and how to ask a donor to give
    • Understanding the art of closing a conversation – with a clear ask
    • Preparing to respond to a donor’s response
    • Setting up the follow up communication

Jay Barber

Jay BarberJay Barber is a senior fellow with the Murdock Charitable Trust, working with capacity building enrichment initiatives. Jay also currently serves as President Emeritus of Warner Pacific College after serving 12 years as president. Prior to serving as Warner Pacific’s president, he was vice president of development for Oregon Health and Science University where he directed the development of corporate, foundation and major gifts fund raising programs as well as the oversight of estate planning and planned giving.

Dr. Barber received his baccalaureate degree from Warner Pacific College where he later served on the Board of Trustees. He received his master’s degree from the University of San Francisco and a Doctor of Laws Degree (Hon.) from Anderson University. Jay and his wife Jan currently reside in Seaside, Oregon on the Oregon coast where Jay is currently serving as Mayor.

Clark Dickerson

Clark DickersonWith 40 years of experience in fund raising and 31 years as a fund-raising consultant for Christian organizations, Clark Dickerson has personally provided counsel for hundreds of organizations on virtually all development topics.

Clark is known for his hands on approach with clients and his innovative approach to development “problems”. Having personally led over 200 capital campaigns, it is unlikely there is a campaign issue that he has not faced and overcome.

Clark has an undergraduate degree from Wabash College, a Masters of Education from Indiana State University and a doctorate in higher education administration from Indiana University. A former high school and college basketball coach and faculty member, Clark began his administrative career at Franklin College in Franklin, Indiana where he served from 1969 to 1977. For eight years, Clark was vice president of TCM International, a mission organization serving Eastern Europe prior to the fall of the iron curtain. He founded Dickerson and Associates in 1985. Effective January 2012, Clark merged Dickerson and Associates Inc. with that of a friend and colleague to form Dickerson, Bakker and Associates. He took on the role of Capital Campaigns Team Leader in the merged company, which allowed him to relinquish management responsibilities in order to focus more exclusively on serving ministries, providing guidance to other consulting team members, and sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience through teaching, writing, and presenting.

Clark is a frequent speaker at the Christian Leadership Alliance conference, Evangelical Development Ministry Institute, and at the national conferences of the Christian Camp & Conference Association, the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, and the Association of Christian Schools International. Dr. Dickerson is a recipient of the Robert O. Fraley award for a Lifetime of Innovative Development Service to Christian Development Officers. Married to Sherry, Clark has three grown children and five grandchildren.

Ron Haas

Ron HaasRon has served as a pastor, the vice president for advancement of a Bible college, a Christian foundation director, and a board member of a college, camp, church and foundation. He regularly presents fundraising workshops at development conferences and has written many fundraising articles. His book, Ask for a Fish: Bold, Faith-Based Fundraising, outlines seven action steps for ministry leaders, development staff, and board members to “find out where God is hiding money!” He also wrote, Simply Share – Bold, Grace-Based Giving, a resource used by churches to teach stewardship living and giving. His client list includes Christian colleges and universities, Bible colleges, K-12 schools, rescue missions, international mission agencies, Christian non-profit ministries, denominations, churches, and camps. Ron brings expertise in strategic planning, annual fund development, communications, executive mentoring, board training, capital campaign management, foundation research, and major donor solicitation.

Brad Layland

Brad LaylandBrad Layland, CEO of The FOCUS Group, has over 25 years of fundraising and consulting experience to draw from as he partners with organizations to fulfill their mission through effective fundraising strategies. Brad’s distinguished career began at Young Life, where he served in various roles including Area Director, Field Development Director, Gift Planning Associate, and ultimately Chief Development Officer. He moved into his role as owner and CEO of The FOCUS Group in 2012, after several years as a Senior Consultant.

Brad received his B.A. in Communications from the University of Florida and his M.A. in Theology from Fuller Seminary. He and his wife, singer-songwriter Wendy Curl, love living in St. Augustine, Florida and have 4 children: Max, Dakota, Jack and Sydney. Brad enjoys running marathons, investing in real estate, being an entrepreneur, and traveling with his family.

Terry Munday

Terry MundayAfter serving as a high school principal and school superintendent for over a decade, Terry Munday accepted the position of VP for Advancement at Indiana Wesleyan University where he led the development department for almost 20 years including several successful capital campaigns and over $200 million dollars raised for annual, capital, scholarship, and endowment funds. Now semi-retired, Terry assists many colleges and non-profit organizations with major donor development strategy and campaign planning including current campaigns for over $150 million dollars. A seasoned advancement veteran, Terry will help you build a highly effective advancement strategy for your institution.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Orlando Airport
5828 Hazeltine National Dr,
Orlando, FL 32822
(407) 816-5533
SpringHill Suites Orlando Airport is an all-suite hotel offering you first class service, located minutes away from the Orlando International Airport (MCO), and features amenities, including free Internet access and on-site dining. The ABHE staff will make your hotel reservations for you.  Please indicate your room type/preference when you register for the conference.

Complimentary shuttle service is available from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites. To request the complimentary shuttle from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites:

  • Call the hotel for shuttle pickup – (407) 816-5533
  • Take airport elevator to level 1 – ground transportation
  • Go through the sliding doors
  • Stand at either A4 (A Side) or B4 (B Side) for pickup

Conference Staff

David Medders
Executive Vice President



Carol Dibble
Director of Communications & Events


Frequently Asked Questions

Is lodging included in the registration fee?

YES, 3 nights, including arrival the evening before the conference begins.

Can I request for additional hotel nights?

YES The ABHE group rate is $115/night.  You can qualify for our group rate three days prior and three days post conference.  You can request and pay for your additional hotel nights during the registration process.  All reservations must be made and managed by the ABHE office as it is part of a group reservation.  This includes changes to existing reservations.  Email with any questions or updates to existing reservations.

Are meals included in the registration fee?

YES, including 7 meals and all snacks/beverages.

Are scholarships available?

YES, limited scholarships are available.  Please email your request to with an explanation of your financial need.

Is airport shuttle service available?

YES! Complimentary shuttle service is available from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites. To request the complimentary shuttle from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) to the SpringHill Suites:

  • Call the hotel for shuttle pickup – 407-816-5533
  • Take airport elevator to level 1 – ground transportation
  • Go through the sliding doors
  • Stand at either A4 (A Side) or B4 (B Side) for pickup
Where is the hotel located in relation to the ABHE Conference Center?

The ABHE Weber Center is located in the Citadel I Building, less than a mile away from the Orlando International Airport and a short walk from the SpringHill Suites by Marriott. Complimentary shuttle service is available from the hotel to the conference center.

How do I CANCEL a person on my registration?

You may log back into your registration form at any time with your confirmation number to make any cancellations, etc.

What is your Cancellation Policy?

In the event of registration cancellation, fees paid in advance are refundable – less a $50.00 service charge per person, provided written notice is received by ABHE no later than three weeks prior to the event. No refunds will be granted after that date. E-mail notification will suffice. Please e-mail to notify us of cancellation. There are no refunds for no-shows.