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Registration closes Aug. 15
Seminar: $499 | One-Day: $399 | Dual NICF Seminar & NIC Annual Meeting: $499

August 27-29, 2018

Hyatt Regency Indianapolis


Registration opens May 1

The premier educational event for fraternal foundations

Since the 1990s, THE Foundations Seminar has provided fraternal foundation professionals and volunteers with a forum to collaborate on issues unique to advancing their organization’s missions. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, collaborate, explore solutions to shared business problems and network with 300 industry professionals. It is also our chance to recognize outstanding achievements and work by our NICF member foundations through the NICF Awards of Distinction program. 

THE Foundations Seminar 2018 will again be full of meaningful keynote speakers, impactful educational sessions and networking/relationship building among fraternal foundation peers at all levels – from first-year professionals or volunteers, to the most seasoned executive staff and board members. More information will be available here as we get closer to Aug. 27-29, 2018, in Indianapolis.

The Call for Programs is open!

To ensure an exceptional learning experience, the Seminar Planning Committee provides presentation opportunities for fraternal foundation professionals. Anyone with experience in fraternal fundraising or operations, or who has a passion for a particular subject can submit a program proposal and be selected to present at Seminar 2018. Click below for more details on how to submit a program proposal, required criteria and the timeline.

Proposals are evaluated and selected based on:

  • Correlation to this year’s Seminar theme, “Ignite Excellence. Imagine Potential.”

  • Relation to one of the 2016-18 NICF Curriculum Plan areas or hot topics (outlined in the submission form below)
  • Uniqueness and relevancy of content

Know someone who should submit a proposal?
Recommend a presenter by emailing us at foundation@nicindy.org.

Interested in submitting but looking for co-presenter(s) who can provide expertise or perspective on your topic? Reach out to foundation@nicindy.org  for suggestions and connections!


Program proposals are due April 11.





Session: Uncharitable

Dan’s opening session keynote will be a live digital session based on his book “Uncharitable” and how the way we think about charity is dead wrong. It immerses listeners in and expands on the issues discussed in Dan’s well-known TED Talk about two rule books: one for charity and one for everything else.

Dan is the founder and President of the Charity Defense Council, a national leadership movement dedicated to transforming the way the donating public thinks about charity and change. He is also the Chief Humanity Officer for Advertising for Humanity, a bold agency of ideas committed to strengthening the fundraising power of some of America’s most innovative humanitarian organizations. He has been committed to human transformation since he began studying it as a freshman at Harvard. “I think my classmates thought I had a screw loose,” he says. “There weren’t many popular frames of reference for human consciousness back in 1979. Words like ‘possibility’ and ‘transformation’ weren’t in vogue. But I knew from the moment I first encountered them that transformation technologies held the key to creating the kind of world we all want to live in.” Dan invented the multi-day charitable event industry. He created the Breast Cancer 3-Day walks and the multi-day AIDS Rides, which raised in excess of half a billion dollars in nine years and were the subject of one of the first Harvard Business School case studies on social enterprise. The model and methods he created are now employed by dozens of charities and have raised in excess of $1.5 billion more for important causes from pediatric leukemia to AIDS to suicide prevention and many others.

Dan’s iconic TED 2013 Talk has been viewed more than 4 million times, making it one of the 100 most-viewed TED Talks of all time. It generated tremendous conversation, and is one of the twenty most-commented TED Talks of all time. Dan is also the author of “Uncharitable: How Restraints on Nonprofits Undermine Their Potential,” the best-selling title in the history of Tufts University Press.




Session: Giving USA 2018

In her keynote session, Melissa will share groundbreaking research from 2017 on key fundraising metrics, insight into important changes in donor preferences and habits, and leading intelligence you need to plan and fundraise in the year ahead.


Melissa helps charities turn knowledge into action. Consulting services range from literature reviews to survey design and analysis. Melissa is also a highly-rated speaker and facilitates courses for The Fund Raising School at Indiana University. In 2016, she was ranked as one of the top 25 speakers on philanthropy in the U.S. She is an approved provider for CFRE International and her presentations can qualify for CEUs for that certification. Recent customized presentations include sessions for AFP chapters in Greater Cincinnati, Greater Louisville, and the Permian Basin.
Among her projects, Melissa manages the Nonprofit Research Collaborative, a twice-annual survey to assess what works in fundraising. She is a consultant with Indiana Youth Institute for program evaluation and an on-going consultant to more than a dozen clients, including some in Canada.

Melissa volunteers on the AFP Research Council and for the Association of Philanthropic Counsel. Before founding Melissa S. Brown & Associates in 2011, she worked at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy editing Giving USA (2001-10) and researching charitable giving by individuals, corporations and foundations. Prior to moving to research, she raised funds for Folger Shakespeare Library, the Arthritis Foundation, the Homeless Initiative Program and Indiana University. Before her career in nonprofit fundraising and research, Melissa worked as a financial analyst for a municipal bond firm in Philadelphia and in multiple roles in a law firm in Portland, Oregon. Melissa studied at Reed College and the University of Pennsylvania. She and her family live near Indianapolis. Melissa enjoys gardening, bird watching and travel.




Session: More than money… thinking beyond the annual appeal

From transactional giving to transformational giving, Deborah’s keynote session will provide insights on relationship building and giving in the digital age. Deborah has experience as an attendee at THE Foundations Seminar while serving as a trustee for the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation.


Deborah Eschenbacher is a veteran fundraising professional located in Vero Beach, Florida. She is a Managing Director at Carter Global, an international consulting firm dedicated to advancing philanthropy worldwide. She is dedicated to strengthening nonprofit organizations by focusing on strategic planning and capacity-building initiatives with a hands-on approach that results in greater productivity and sustainability. Among the first students to graduate with a master’s in Philanthropic Studies from Indiana University, she is now adjunct faculty at IU. In addition to her consulting practice, she teaches courses throughout the U.S. and internationally as a faculty member of The Fund Raising School (part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy) and is a chapter author in the recent 4th Edition of “Achieving Excellence in Fundraising.”

Deborah’s nonprofit background includes service as a regional major gifts officer at The Ohio State University, director of corporate and foundation development at Ohio University and executive director of two state affiliates of national nonprofit organizations, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Indiana Chapter and the Indianapolis Keep America Beautiful Affiliate. She also served as director of development for the north/central Texas chapters of the American Diabetes Association and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. She is a former trustee of the Alpha Gamma Delta Foundation and a recipient of the prestigious “Sagamore of the Wabash” honor from the Governor of Indiana. Deborah volunteers her time and resources to several local, national and international philanthropic causes.

2 Meetings, 1 Trip

To provide maximum value for attendees, the NICF and NIC now hold THE Foundations Seminar in conjunction with the NIC’s Annual Meeting of Members. NIC member fraternities, foundation and fraternity staff and volunteers, as well as NICF and NIC Alliance Partners, are now able to attend both conferences in one trip to Indianapolis. Our goal is to bolster conversations among staff and volunteers, as well as bring new attendees to Seminar programming. 

Who should attend?

THE Foundations Seminar programming is designed to engage fraternal foundation:

  • Executives
  • Staff members in the development, major gifts, annual fund, stewardship, communication, alumni and program areas
  • Key volunteers

For NIC member fraternities, the NIC Annual Meeting educational programs will engage attendees around key areas of NIC 2.0 priorities and progress. The following staff and volunteers in these roles would benefit most:

  • Executive Director/CEO and/or equivalent volunteer(s)
  • Key fraternity volunteer(s)
  • Director-level staff member(s) in chapter services and communications

Seminar Schedule

Monday, August 28

7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registration
1 - 2:15 p.m. Opening Keynote, "Inspiring Donor Loyalty"
In this session with Dr. Adrian Sargeant, we’ll explore why retention is such a huge issue for the nonprofit sector in the United States and review current patterns of performance. We will outline the three big drivers of donor loyalty – satisfaction, commitment and trust – and explain how each can be measured and enhanced. The session will conclude by examining sector best practices and the particularly creative practices of a few really innovative nonprofits who have achieved extraordinary retention performance. 
2:15 – 2:30 p.m. Alliance Partner Break
2:30 - 3:30 p.m. Education Block I
  • Annual Fund/Stewardship Peer Group Session: Best Practices and Emerging Issues
  • Communications/Alumni/Programs Peer Group Session: Emerging Issues and Trends
  • Development/Major Gifts Peer Group Session: Closing Gifts in a Metrics-Based Environment
  • Executives Peer Group Session: Board Development
  • Volunteers Peer Group Session: Networking and Emerging Issues
3:30 – 3:45 p.m. Alliance Partner Break
3:45 - 4:45 p.m. Education Block II
  • Do-It-Yourself Annual Fund Assessment
  • I Just Called to Say I Love You: Practical and Inspiring Opportunities for Meaningful Board Engagement
  • Influence Without Authority: Moving Donors and Colleagues into Positive Action
  • “Best Communications Effort” Winners Panel
  • The Social Psychology of Giving
4:45 – 5:45 p.m.                                   General Session, “Inspiring First Impressions”

5:45 – 6:45 p.m.                                   Welcome Reception
Dinner on your own

Tuesday, August 29

7 – 8:30 a.m. Registration
8 – 9:30 a.m. Breakfast, NICF Member Meeting & Industry by the Numbers 
9:30 – 9:45 a.m. Alliance Partner Break
9:45 - 10:45 a.m. Education Block III
  • Chapter and Directed Giving: What We’ve Learned and Are Learning
  • For Now, Forever: A Campaign for “Greatest Need”
  • Government Relations: What We All Need to Know and Do for the Future of Fraternities and Sororities
  • “Best New Development Idea” Winners Panel
  • Road Warriors: Engaging Leadership Consultants as Foundation Advocates
10:45 – 11 a.m. Alliance Partner Break
11 a.m. - Noon Education Block IV
  • Creating a Culture of Philanthropy Through Your Capital Campaign
  • Donor-Centered Beyond Development: Engagement Closer to the Mission
  • Investments 101: How to Respond to Investment-Related Questions and the ABCs of Planned Giving
  • How to Rock Your One-Man Band
Noon – 12:15 p.m. Alliance Partner Break
12:15 - 1:30 p.m. Lunch Keynote, "Ask Without Fear!"
Does the need to ask for money make you shudder? You’re not alone. Some say asking for money is as scary for people as death and public speaking! But it doesn’t have to be. In this keynote, Marc Pitman will inspire you to see fundraising as more than “taking.” He shares a simple mothod that take much of the fear out of the process and provides actual phrases to use during solicitations. You’ll leave inspired to ask for money – and might even learn to enjoy the ask!
1:30 – 2 p.m. Alliance Partner Break
2 - 3 p.m. Education Block V
  • Ask: Overcoming Objections
  • Communicating an Inspiring Message in the Midst of a Crisis
  • “Best Stewardship Effort” Winners Panel
  • Staffing for Philanthropic Success
  • Phonathon: Does it have a Role in Your Organization?
3 – 3:15 p.m. Alliance Partner Break
3:15 - 4:15 p.m. Education Block VI
  • A Win-Win-Win: Investing Foundation Resources in Chapter Housing Loans
  • Are You Prepared for Upcoming Changes in Financial Reporting?
  • Lessons Learned from Building a Recurring Gift Program
  • Turning Data into Dollars
  • 21st Century Digital Brotherhood and Sisterhood

5:30 – 6:30 p.m.                                   Awards Reception & Silent Auction
The Indiana Roof Ballroom

6:30 – 9 p.m.                                           Awards of Distinction Dinner
The Indiana Roof Ballroom

Wednesday, August 30

8 – 9:30 a.m.
Breakfast and NICF Award Winners Panel 

9:30 – 9:45 a.m. Alliance Partner Break
9:45 - 10:45 a.m. Education Block VII
  • Encouraging Repeat Performances: The Importance of Stewardship and Reporting
  • Aligning for Success: The Journey to One Tri Delta
  • Planned Gifts: Who’s Getting Them and How Are They Doing It?
  • Starting from Scratch: Reconstruction of a Values-Based Scholarship Application
  • Benchmarking Foundation Investment Performance
10:45 – 11 a.m. Alliance Partner Break
11 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. Closing Keynote, "The Power of Relationships"
Dr. Mari Ann Callais wants to help you leave Seminar renewed and ready to advance your organization in the year ahead. She believes that the real power inside an organization is not buried within our departmental mission and vision statements, our daily tasks or even all that we’ll learn throughout Seminar – the real power is in the relationship between the members and the organization as a whole. We’ll send you home with a message of empowerment to do what you do best: develop impactful, meaningful relationships.   

Travel Information


Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
1 South Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 632-1234

Hotel Reservations

The NICF and NIC room block at the Hyatt Regency is now closed. If you are in need of a hotel room, please contact Ashley Lamphier at ashley.lamphier@nicindy.org.

If you do have a reservation at the Hyatt Regency, please note that cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. 

Airport Shuttle

The Go Green Express Shuttle provides nonstop service from the airport to downtown. Stop at the Convention Center, next door to the Hyatt.
(800) 589-6004

Silent Auction and Awards Dinner

Stay tuned for more details on our silent auction and the 2017 Awards of Distinction Reception and Dinner at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are options for parking at the hotel?

The Hyatt Regency in downtown Indianapolis offers a variety of parking options, including self-parking, valet parking, and overnight parking.

Can I register more than one person at a time?

The registration form is individualized, so please submit one for each person attending. If you need to register 10 people or more, contact Kristin Fouts.

What payment methods are accepted at registration?

We accept all major credit cards and check payments. Please send checks to the NIC Foundation at 865 West Carmel Drive, Suite 116, Carmel, Indiana, 46032.

What if I need to cancel my registration?

We strongly encourage you to send someone else in your place if you are unable to attend the Seminar. However, we do allow cancellations if necessary.

What is the refund policy?

Registrations are transferable at any time prior to the event. Cancellations made 30 days or more in advance of the event will result in a refund of all but a $50 processing fee. Cancellations made less than 30 days but more than 10 business days in advance of the event will result in a refund of 50 percent. Cancellations made less than 10 business days in advance of the event are non-refundable.


Contact Ashley VanDewark, Director of NICF Programs and Services at ashley.vandewark@nicindy.org or (317) 872-1112 ext. 440.

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