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Fundraising Fundamentals

Wednesday, January 31, 2024 (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM) (EST)


Secure your spot and register today for Fundraising Fundamentals: Introduction to Direct Response.


8:30 am - 9:00 amRegistration

9:00 am - 10:00 amOverview of Direct Response
  • What is the role of direct response fundraising in a development program?
  • How to get attention!

10:00 am - 12:00 pmDirect Response Acquisition: Getting the First Gift
(10:45 am Refresh & Connect Break)
  • How does direct mail acquisition work in the mail?
  • How does online acquisition work?
  • Where do the prospects come from?
  • How to develop winning acquisition creative?
  • How do we measure success?
  • Integration of Channels Panel

12:00 pm - 1:00 pmLunch

1:00 pm - 3:00 pmDonor Retention: Keeping Your Donors Engaged
(1:45 pm Refresh & Connect Break)
  • What are elements of a winning acknowledgement program?
  • How do we get the second gift... and the third... and the fourth?
  • What does a successful donor journey look like?
  • What are winning cultivation strategies across channels?
  • How do we use the data to drive strategy?

3:00 pm - 4:00 pmDonor Upgrades: Inspiring your donors to give more!
  • What are the different ways to upgrade an existing donor?
  • What is the anatomy of a successful sustainer program?
  • What are successful mid-level and major donor strategies?
  • What is the goal of planned giving marketing to your direct response donors?

4:00 pm - 4:15 pmRefresh & Connect Break

4:15 pm - 5:00 pmWhere do we go from here?
  • How can you continue your own educational journey?
  • What trends do we see on the horizon?


Kristina Williams, Managing Director, Membership Acquisition, Sierra Club
Kristina Williams is an accomplished fundraiser with over 10 years of experience in advocacy and arts organizations. Currently serving as the Managing Director, Membership Acquisition at the Sierra Club, she is responsible for member recruitment and onboarding activities. Previously, she served as the Deputy Director, Membership at the Human Rights Campaign where she helped to engage and mobilize more than 3 million members and supporters to support LGBTQ+ equality. Prior to working at HRC, Kristina worked at many arts organizations including Woolly Mammoth, Arena Stage, and Shakespeare Theatre.

Joe Harr, Marketing Strategist, AARP

Joe Harr is a marketing strategist with 25 years of marketing, non-profit management, database, and analytics experience. Joe is currently Marketing Analytics Manager at AARP where he provides analytics, forecasting and strategy for several channels – DRTV, insert media, direct mail and email. His work has helped AARP generate over 10 million member orders.

Joe has 10 years of agency experience at two different firms – Barton Cotton and Adams Hussy & Associates. During his agency work, Joe led direct marketing fundraising programs that raised over $19 million annually while recruiting a quarter of a million new donors.

Joe has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and an MBA, both from the University of Maryland. When he’s not building data visualizations or creating marketing strategy, Joe is working on his streak of over 1,000 days completing the New York Times crossword.

Steven D. Fleshman, Founder/Creative Partner, DR2
With over 35 years of direct response marketing under his belt, Steve is Founder/Creative Partner of DR2, a direct marketing graphic design consultancy. As former Creative Director for Capital One, Coast to Coast Resorts, EDS, Marsh & McLennan and SQN Communications Design, Steve is known for designing direct-mail packages and that get opened and emails that not only get click-throughs, but donations. 

Among his greatest challenges and successes are conceptualizing and designing a Sigmund Freud Lunchbox as the carrier for an invitation to lunch for prospective clients of a mental healthcare HMO . . . mailing a Gold-Maxi-winning package including Old Bay seasoning to promote the use of Rehabilitation Opportunities, Inc. (a direct-mail production facility employing the developmentally disabled) . . . and membership mailings offering timeshares for camping spaces. Lest you think his experience is limited to off-the-wall endeavors, his achievements include creative teamwork that resulted in winning campaigns for Human Rights Watch, International Rescue Committee, Americares, The Nature Conservancy, FINCA, African Wildlife Foundation, Nuclear Threat Initiative, Defenders of Wildlife, and Children’s National to name a few. Steve is also a fine art printmaker, specializing in relief and screen printing.

Victoria Heckler, Account Director, Mal Warwick Donordigital

Victoria Heckler has worked in the world of progressive fundraising for more than two decades. With a dynamic career spanning roles at prominent organizations like Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the National Women’s Health Network, Victoria has consistently championed causes close to her heart.

Her expertise extends beyond traditional fundraising as she navigated the intricacies of donor databases as a Senior Business Analyst at Public Interest Data, Inc. For the past ten years, she has called the agency side her professional home, where she is currently a Director at Mal Warwick Donordigital.

Victoria's commitment to making a difference doesn't stop at the office. She is passionate about engaging with the community and proudly serves on the DMAW Maxis Committee, is on the board of Trail Dames, and encourages others to be good stewards of the outdoors as a Leave No Trace Level 1 Instructor.

In her ever-dwindling free time, Victoria enjoys hiking and backpacking and volunteers as a docent at the Appalachian Trail Museum in Gardners, PA.

Ioannis Saratsis, Vice President Client Services, NextAfter

Yanni serves as the Vice President of Client Services at NextAfter, where he uses his 15 years of non-profit fundraising experience to help organizations make an even greater impact on the world.

An award-winning digital strategist, prior to joining NextAfter Yanni spent 10 years at RKD Group, where he was responsible for creating breakthrough, multi-channel strategies for over one hundred local and regional nonprofits, primarily focusing on the health and human services sector.

He also spent 7 years in Washington, D.C. working at one of the country’s premier think tanks, focusing on security research, marketing, congressional relations, and fundraising.

Yanni holds a B.A. in International Studies from Bryant University and an M.A. in International Relations from Sussex University in the U.K. He currently resides in Rhode Island with his fiancée and two fur babies, Maximus and Bailey.

Amy English, Regular Giving Manager, International Fund for Animal Welfare

Amy English serves as the Regular Giving Manager where she oversees strategy development and execution of IFAW’s sustainer program mass scale giving channels in the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Netherlands, and the UK including direct mail, telemarketing, SMS and digital.

She joined IFAW in 2020, after making a shift from the nonprofit agency side, where she held analytic and marketing roles working for both regional and national nonprofit clients for over 10 years. Amy is a current member and volunteer of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington and The Nonprofit Alliance.

Mikaela King, Vice President, Advancement Operations, National Geographic Society

Mikaela is an industry-recognized nonprofit fundraiser and fundraising operations leader with an award-winning track record in building and growing integrated fundraising, advocacy, and engagement programs for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations.

With over twenty years of experience in digital marketing, direct mail, telemarketing, (c)4 advocacy, midlevel and monthly giving programs, as well as the supporting data, systems, and analytics infrastructure, Mikaela has been privileged to work with a variety of nonprofits including National Geographic Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Toys for Tots, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Wounded Warrior Project, Disabled American Veterans, American Heart Association and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Mikaela King has also served on the DMAW Board of Directors since 2011 and was DMAW's Board President in 2018.

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036 United States
Event Contact
Angelica Sullivan
(703) 689-3629
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Wednesday, January 31, 2024 (8:30 AM - 5:00 PM) (EST)
Education - Seminars, Workshops, Tutorials
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