The title of this article, “10+ Higher Education Fundraising Conferences to Attend”, next to an image of a college graduate.

10+ Higher Education Fundraising Conferences to Attend

Higher education fundraising professionals work hard every day to generate the revenue that keeps their schools running. By doing so, they offer a better educational experience to students, provide scholarships and financial aid, fund research projects, and more.

Since fundraising is so essential, higher education professionals need to stay up-to-date on new trends and best practices. That’s where fundraising conferences come in. These events provide a venue for you to develop your fundraising skills and discover cutting-edge knowledge.

To help you decide on which conferences to attend, we’ve put together a list of the top higher education fundraising conferences. No matter which conference you decide on, you’re sure to come away with a wealth of knowledge you can use to grow the wealth of your higher education organization.

Click to download Double the Donation’s free ultimate guide to matching gifts.

1. Academic Impressions

Date: Year-Round

Location: Varies

Academic Impressions is dedicated to providing leadership, personal development, and skills-based training opportunities to higher education faculty and staff members. As part of their goal, they regularly offer training opportunities and conferences to members and non-members alike. Many of these events occur virtually, making Academic Impressions’ offerings a great choice for higher education professionals who prefer not to travel.

Training sessions and conferences offered by Academic Impressions focus on a range of topics relevant to higher education professionals. Aside from fundraising, they also cover academic leadership, faculty success, academic planning, enrollment management, and more.

2. AFP Icon

Date: April 7-9, 2024

Location: Toronto, Ontario

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) is a member-based group that empowers individuals and organizations to practice ethical fundraising. AFP Icon is their annual fundraising conference and one of the biggest around with over 3,000 attendees each year. This conference offers fundraising training to professionals from all types of organizations, providing an opportunity to network and build relationships with other prestigious nonprofits in addition to attending educational workshops.

From executive coaching to affinity group meetings to speed networking, AFP Icon is sure to boost your knowledge of fundraising.

3. CASE District IV Annual Conference

Date: April 14-16, 2024

Location: San Antonio, Texas

The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) is a global nonprofit association dedicated to education advancement professionals. It hosts a variety of annual conferences, including the District IV Annual Conference.

At this conference, higher education fundraising professionals can attend speaker sessions and workshops focused on various topics related to nonprofit education organizations. Regardless of your experience level or the type of higher education institution you belong to, you can find a track that you will benefit from, such as fundraising, alumni relations, development, communications and marketing, professional development, and more.

4. CASE Drive

Date: March 25-27, 2025

Location: Washington, DC

Also hosted by CASEDrive is an annual conference that creates a focused learning and networking experience for higher education institutions and other nonprofits that work with data and analytics. If you wish to improve your knowledge of collecting, managing, and analyzing donor data for fundraising, Drive is a valuable conference to attend.

In today’s constantly developing technological landscape, this conference empowers you to stay ahead of evolving data tools and gain insights into harnessing the power of data to improve fundraising and other aspects of your operations.

5. Elevate: A Conference for Fundraising Events

Date: March 12-13, 2025

Location: Portland, Oregon and online

Elevate is a collaborative community of industry experts and thought leaders dedicated to creating a learning hub for individuals who want to expand their knowledge of fundraising events. Elevate’s annual conference serves as a masterclass in fundraising events, bringing together nonprofit and fundraising professionals from a variety of sectors to network, share resources, and learn about best practices.

By being held in a hybrid format, this conference provides the flexibility of attending at a location of your preference. You can either go in person to the venue in Portland, Oregon or attend virtually from another location. Either way, you’re sure to pick up tips on storytelling and fundraising strategy that will help you elevate the donor experience at your higher education organization’s fundraising events.

Click to download Double the Donation’s free ultimate guide to matching gifts.

6. Fundraising Day in New York

Date: June 14, 2024

Location: New York, New York

Another conference hosted by the AFPFundraising Day in New York is a one-day fundraising conference. Whether you’re a newcomer to the fundraising industry or a seasoned veteran, you’re sure to benefit from this conference’s diverse range of sessions, including ones on the most current trends and developments. Plus, these sessions are presented by respected leaders and experts in the fundraising industry.

At Fundraising Day in New York, you’ll connect with a community of dedicated fundraisers who are eager to share their knowledge, form new connections, and advance their fundraising expertise.

7. NASPA Annual Conference

Date: March 9-13, 2024

Location: Seattle, Washington

NASPA is an association for student affairs administrators in higher education, supporting a network of 15,000 professionals and over 1,200 institutions across the globe. They’re dedicated to helping colleges and universities fulfill the promise of higher education by placing students at the center of their work.

At the NASPA Annual Conference, you’ll participate in professional development workshops that will inspire you and your work. Attend educational sessions and connect with exhibitors to aid in your professional development and your organization’s fundraising efforts. If you’re a first-time attendee, participate in the Mentor Program to connect with experienced professionals who can serve as a resource for networking and conference navigation.

8. One Day Development

Date: June 21, 2024

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Hosted by Academic Advancement PartnersOne Day Development is a conference for professionals who work in higher education fundraising. These individuals are encouraged to attend alongside deans and provosts, as the focus of the conference is on major donors.

This conference features speakers who are experts in academic fundraising and storytelling, some of whom currently serve on the fundraising committees of higher education organizations. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to network with other higher education fundraising professionals.

9. Planet Philanthropy

Date: June 3-5, 2024

Location: Orlando, Florida

Planet Philanthropy is a premier fundraising conference in Florida. Hosted by the Florida Caucus of AFP, it attracts fundraising professionals from all over the United States and Puerto Rico. Over 300 nonprofit leaders attend this conference to learn about the latest and greatest fundraising news and strategies.

Planet Philanthropy addresses topics ranging from grant writing to leveraging AI to assessing legacy pipelines. On top of keynote speeches and workshops, Planet Philanthropy also offers a social event that you can attend for fun or to network with other professionals.

Click to download Double the Donation’s free ultimate guide to matching gifts.

10. RNL Advancement Innovation Summit

Date: March 23, 2023

Location: Online

Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) is an organization dedicated to making colleges, universities, and other nonprofit organizations successful and vibrant. RNL does this by helping these organizations learn how to build lifelong relationships with donors at their Advancement Innovation Summit.

Although RNL hosts a plethora of events, including the RNL National Conference, if your focus is on higher education fundraising, the Advancement Innovation Summit is the conference you should attend. At this event, you’ll learn key insights into maximizing donor engagement, increasing fundraising results, and providing a better donor experience. From annual giving to alumni relations to legacy gifts, this conference will help you build a fundraising strategy that works.

11. SEC/ACC Annual Giving Conference

Date: January 24-26, 2024

Location: Fayetteville, Arkansas

The SEC/ACC Annual Giving Conference brings together annual giving professionals from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) to discuss topics related to higher education fundraising. The conference is hosted at a different university each year within the SEC or ACC.

This conference offers two days of learning, networking, and inspiration. At it, you’ll participate in roundtable discussions and presentations focused on advancing and enhancing annual giving operations and solicitations. Their topics range from giving days to CRM conversions to crowdfunding, covering valuable fundraising insights sure to help your annual giving strategy.

Fundraising with Matching Gifts

If you’re looking for a quick way to augment your higher education organization’s fundraising, matching gifts provide a great opportunity for you to double the donations you receive. This is how matching gifts work:

The steps to the matching gift process, also covered in the text below.

  1. An individual, such as an alumni, donates to your organization.
  2. The individual checks if they’re eligible for a gift match from their employer.
  3. This individual submits a matching gift request to their employer.
  4. The employer reviews the request and verifies the donation.
  5. The employer matches the individual’s donation to your organization.

The greatest barrier to obtaining matching gifts funding is awareness. After all, it’s estimated that over $4 billion in matching gift funds goes unclaimed every year. To leverage this source of funding, promote educational content about matching gifts through your marketing channels.

Additionally, you may want to purchase a dedicated matching gifts software solution. The right tool will allow you to embed a matching gift database that donors can use to check their matching gift eligibility. These platforms also allow you to send automated emails to encourage donors to fill out a matching gift request with their employer and create reports to determine if you are making the most of matching gifts. Plus, some solutions include auto-submission features, simplifying the matching gift process even further for donors through automation.

Additional Resources

If your organization has been looking to improve your fundraising strategy, higher education fundraising conferences are great opportunities for you and the other professionals on your team. Through these events, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the best ways to fundraise, empowering you to generate more fundraising revenue for your organization.

If you’re interested in learning more about higher education fundraising, check out these resources:

Click to download Double the Donation’s free ultimate guide to matching gifts.