Friday, August 29, 2014

CASE Europe Annual Conference, part 1

I had quite an awakening moment this week. I realized that I have finally made a career shift to a career that is truly international: working with fundraising and development in the fields of higher education, science and the arts. I could seriously see myself working in London, Edinburgh, San Francisco or New York, for example, in the future. I have to say that I am full of energy, inspiration and new ideas after having attended the four-day CASE Europe Annual Conference in Edinburgh. Ready to roll my sleeves and put these ideas into action at my workplace, the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki.

Almost 1,100 Advancement Professionals from 31 Countries

CASE is a wonderful non-profit organization helping educational institutions and their advancement professionals to improve their fundraising and development, alumni relations, communications, marketing and related areas. Established originally in the US in 1974, it has expanded to other continents, as well.

This year's Annual Conference in Europe gathered together almost 1,100 advancement professionals from 31 countries. I attended also the pre-conference so had the pleasure of meeting some 50 of the participants for one day in a more intimate setting.

Edinburgh International Conference Centre created a fabulous setting for this event.

Experiences, Inspiration and Ideas

What is the greatest give-a-way from the CASE Annual Conference? I would point out two: fabulous contacts and inspiring stories and cases from other universities. I was especially fascinated by the presentation of John Glier and Peter Lasher from Grenzebach Glier and Associates. They seem to share my view that a donation is really an investment. I wrote about this already in my two theses over a year ago. Peter Lasher extended the term to "philanthropic investment". Excellent. This terminology much better describes that a donation is not just throwing money to an organization with the aim of saving it. I fact, it is investing in the organization and thus helping the organization to improve and expand. Most importantly: an investment always has (or should have) a return. This resonates with the donors and other funders, who in many cases have made their fortune in the business  world. In the case of universities, the return is a better-functioning and more competitive university, that can attract the best students, professors and researchers. Read my theses at my website here.

Secondly, I was very inspired to hear Director of Development Liesl Elder's presentation on the University of Oxford's fundraising campaign Oxford Thinking. We are far from the Oxford's £3 billion fundraising goal. Yet, it was a treat to see how strategically she addressed the key points of getting principal gifts – yes, the eight-figure gifts.

Networking Never Ends

Have to say that we fundraisers and other institutional advancement professionals are special creatures. Met so many interesting people, with many of whom I hope to continue discussions and the practice of sharing experiences.

So many new contacts. And these are only the ones who had business cards with them...

And the networking didn't end at the seminar. I even connected with the manager of a nearby Nepalese restaurant. Apparently his brother is studying in Finland, at exactly the University of Helsinki.

Here at the Edinburgh airport I'm allowing myself to put on my iTunes and be on my own, for a while. Enjoying a rare quiet moment and traveling with style. ;)

The drink is one of my favorites but never had it with fries / chips before.

I seriously did not plan to have everything red.

This blog post is a beginning of a series of posts from the CASE Europe Annual Conference. More to follow in the upcoming days.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview on Fundraising and Alumni Relations at Lääkärilehti

Fundraising and alumni relations raise interest in Finland. The Finnish professional magazine Lääkärilehti - targeted for medical doctors - published an article today, April 11th, in which I was interviewed, as well. This time the emphasis was on alumni relations at the different Faculties of Medicine in Finland.

Read the entire article as a PDF file here. This is unfortunately only in Finnish.

Altogether this was the fourth media interview since I started my job as Development Specialist at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Medicine. Previously I have given interviews to Keski-Uusimaa, Mediuutiset and the MTV3 News Channel. Full of ideas and energy. So glad that the discussion is heating up in Finland on these topic areas.

Now this Development Specialist is off to a 28-kilometer (17.4-mile) run. This should give me new energy for the upcoming week.

Relaxing weekend, folks!

The photo at the Lääkärilehti article. © Sami Perttilä.

It's ok to be more relaxed in alumni relations, once a while;) © Ari Mäkelä