Advancement Leaders Development Conference

October 1-2, 2018

Early Bird pricing ends September 1, 2018

Member & Affiliates: $429 per person ($399 Early Bird)
Non-Member: $479 per person ($449 Early Bird)

  • 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

If your role at your institution includes fundraising – this conference is for YOU! No doubt your feel the pressure and know the challenges. But this conference is designed to help you identify practical solutions and chart a sustainable course of resource development for your institution. Learn from highly distinguished leaders how they have done this.  Discover keys to success. Be encouraged and inspired by these enriched presentations and invigorating discussions. Enjoy of fellowship with other leaders who share your same passion and responsibilities. Enjoy the blessings of a growing and effective stewardship ministry.

Consider these key presentations on areas that are essential to your success. Engage with these distinguished presenters.

 7 Habits of Highly Effective Advancement Leaders – Terry Munday, Retired VP Advancement, Indiana Wesleyan University
OVERVIEW: Successful fundraising isn’t by accident or the results of a whim. Highly effective fundraisers consistently do the right things and do these well. These become habits that empower consistent results. Learn from a distinguished highly effective fundraiser what your advancement officer habits should look like.

  • Carefully review 7 key habits of a successful fundraiser
  • Consider what these habits look like in action
  • You become what you consistently practice – developing the right habits
  • Measuring your results – aiming high and hitting your target

 Crafting a Compelling Case Statement – Paul Virts & Linda Cunning, Advocace

OVERVIEW: Crafting a compelling case statement for your college is like writing a recipe for your favorite comfort food. There is a science and an art to its construction and design. Successful stewarding starts with drafting a compelling case for support. This workshop will help you understand the ingredients that go into a compelling case, the ways you can mix your college’s culture as well the need for funding into the case and how to communicate the case through your different communication channels.

  • The reason a well-made case is so important
  • The necessary ingredients in developing your case for support
  • How two essential elements need to be baked into a well-formed case for support
  • The many plates the case is served up to entice your supporters for more

 Effective Management of the Advancement Team – Diane Mull, Director of Alumni Relations, Columbia International University

OVERVIEW:  How do you get the advancement team organized and manage all their efforts for maximum results? What does effective advancement management look like and how does it work? Learn from a high-capacity leader how she does this for one of the leading advancement teams of all ABHE institutions . . . including:

  • Identifying the building blocks for an effective strategy
  • Collecting and managing the right data
  • Setting goals, making assignments, tracking progress
  • Creating the right reports, for whom and when
  • Analyzing results for change and improvements

 The Power of Execution – Paul Virts & Linda Cunning, Advocace

OVERVIEW: As a president or chief development officer, you have so many items on your to-do list that you may feel overwhelmed and often miss your goals in donor cultivation. What are the most important tasks to tackle to cultivate success in development? This workshop will help you establish your key priorities and identify the “fires” that keep pulling you away from the work that moves your mission forward.

  • The daily duties vs. the daily progress
  • Advancement how-to’s, prioritizing, and bull-dog focus
  • The joy in the journey: score-boarding
  • What to do when it all comes together

 Cultivating Meaningful Donor Relationships – Diane Mull, Director of Alumni Relations, Columbia International University

OVERVIEW: Cultivating meaningful relationships with donors are a core value and competency of authentic advancement work. How is this organized . . . engaged . . . enhanced . . . and monitored? Look into the heart of day-to-day effective advancement work and take your ministry to a new level.

  • Choosing the right relationships to nurture
  • Making wise assignments and creative initiatives
  • Monitoring relationship cultivation
  • Celebrating progress and avoiding mistakes

 The Worst Mistakes I’ve Seen Fundraisers Make . . . And How to Avoid Them – Terry Munday, Retired VP Advancement, Indiana Wesleyan University

OVERVIEW:  Fundraisers are human . . . and we all make mistakes. But we don’t have to make all of them ourselves. Learn from the keen observations of a distinguished fundraiser and what he’s seen across the years. There’s a time to laugh . . . and a time to cry. Let’s major on the first.

  • Why mistakes are so common, and easy to understand
  • Lessons I’ve learned from my own mistakes . . . and others’
  • Mistakes to be avoided . . . at all cost
  • Thinking ahead, being smart, honest . . . and successful

 Data Integrity – the Foundation of Fundraising – Diane Mull, Director of Alumni Relations, Columbia International University

OVERVIEW:  How do smart institutions effectively manage their donor database? What is the right approach and rhythm? How does an effective data collection and correction system work? Learn from the best how this essential art of advancement is managed . . . including:

  • The essential principles of maintaining data integrity
  • Secrets of data collection – what is most important to know
  • Effective management of donor data and how to most effectively use it
  • Creating a culture of data integrity and excellence

 Expanding Your Capacity for Stewardship Ministry – David Medders, ABHE Executive VP & Advancement Officer

OVERVIEW: Where does the expansion of your stewardship ministry begin? Where do you turn when your inner wellspring runs dry? Look afresh at the extraordinary magnanimity of God and his Sprit can enrich your life as a stewardship leader. Consider . . .

  • The unshakable foundation of God’s generosity . . . flowing through you
  • Biblical paradigms that can transform and expand your heart
  • Warnings from his Word that are counter-cultural . . . but real
  • Lessons from God’s Word that lay a firm foundation for long-term leadership

Linda Cunning

Linda finds great joy in taking Christian ministries and nonprofits to a place where they can really fulfill God’s mission. Her breadth of experience in strategic planning, development, program and systems development, outcomes management and accountability allows her to provide clarity and direction to leaders in ministry settings. Linda has provided organizational growth and development services in numerous nonprofits over 20 years. Most recently, as Vice President of Philanthropy at a progressive nonprofit organization serving the needs of the poor and homeless. Her love for people and serving the community continues to make her successful in working with a variety of donors and supporters, as well as leaders and staff.  Linda’s educational experience began with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Life Education, where she pulls experience to work alongside family and children’s ministries. Because of her desire to help grow Christian ministries and nonprofits, she continued her education by receiving her Master’s Degree in Organizational Development. Linda also holds the Executive Certificate in Religious Fundraising from the University of Indiana’s School of Philanthropy, Lake Institute of Faith and Giving. Linda is an ordained chaplain, has written best-practice curriculum for vulnerable individuals and familiesand holds certifications to train in strategic planning, healthy marriage, strengthening families, parenting, fatherhood, and healthy relationships. She has also written various grants, articles, reports and workbooks. Linda has two adult children.

David Medders

David Medders serves as Executive VP of ABHE. His responsibilities include initiatives for institutional leadership development along with serving as the chief advancement officer. For 19 years, David served as president of Kingswood University in New Brunswick, Canada. This service included significant experience in fundraising and the creation of special programs for student leadership development through which he personally mentored high capacity, spiritually focused student leaders. David worked for The Wesleyan Church in Evangelism and Church Growth following 11 years of local church ministry as pastor, youth pastor and church planter in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

Diane Mull

Diane is the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement & Communications for Columbia International University. Diane earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a minor in Business Administration from Messiah College.  In addition to serving as assistant director of alumni relations at Messiah, she was also the director of the school’s Annual Fund.  Diane’s work led to her being honored with the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) award in Alumni Relations.


Terry Munday

After serving as a high school principal and school superintendent for over a decade, he 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.

Paul Virts

Paul Virts helps ministries grow through his research and strategy insight. His keen eye for growing audiences and revenue for Christian ministries and nonprofits helps their vision become a reality.  Paul has a Ph.D. in speech communication from the University of Iowa, a master’s degree in communication from Wheaton College, Ill., an undergraduate degree in journalism/education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a diploma in Bible and Missions from Prairie Bible College. He most recently joined Advocace from the media group owned by University of Northwestern at St. Paul. While under his care, this network grew in audience, revenue and breadth. Dr. Virts has a long career in helping ministries move forward. He has also held positions in a variety of other Christian ministries and higher education institutes, including Executive VP/COO of Leading the Way Ministries, Senior Consultant for KMA & Associates, and Development Vice President for The Kings College.  He and his wife Viola have been married for 45 years. They have three adult children and eight grandchildren.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott – Orlando Airport
5828 Hazeltine National Drive
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.
Can my spouse participate in some or all of the conference?
Participation in the conference by spouses requires their own separate registration.  In light of shared housing, there is a $200 discount for spousal registration.  If a spouse does not attend the conference, they may join in the evening meals for $25 per meal paid in advance through your registration.
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 request a refund. There are no refunds provided for no-shows.