Advancement Officers

To augment your International Council for Arts Deans membership, our Advancement Officers group is designed to create a network of advancement professionals working in the visual and performing arts, design, communication, and all industries in higher education. The Advancement Officers group engages throughout the year to share challenges and successes, best practices, strategies, research, communication models, and trends that support fundraising.

We invite you to enjoy the benefits of ‘bundled’ membership: $1,600 annual dues includes an academic unit’s Dean plus four additional representatives of your choice. We think you’ll agree that the new ‘bundled approach offers benefits including less expense than the ‘a la carte’ structure that has been in place previously; a single invoice annually; broader participation throughout the year; and more diverse constituencies. Join us anytime during the year! Your membership year is based on the date you join or renew, for 12 months. To join or renew with a ‘bundled’ membership structure, please see the form on this webpage.

Or, Click here to add your Advancement Officer(s) if your academic unit chooses to use ICFAD’s ‘a la carte’ membership structure.


Either way, your institution's advancement staff is invited to participate in this thought community to support fundraising for the arts and creative areas in higher education.

Benefits of Advancement Associate participation include, but are not limited to: 

  • a network of colleagues who specifically work in the arts, design, and creative industries in higher education advancement for professional development, information sharing, peer review, exchange and mentorship — Advancement Officers Helping Advancement Officers
  • online conversations for sharing information and best practices
  • workshops virtually and sometimes at the ICFAD Annual Conference
  • ICFAD Advancement Officers membership directory for mentorship, consultancy and exchange
  • on-going communication through a listserv information exchange
  • opportunities for surveying colleagues related to capital campaigns, philanthropy, and stewardship
  • opportunities to advertise advancement searches in ICFAD's Career Center 

Upcoming Opportunities

Applying AI to Strategic Engagement, Modeling New Directions in Digital Innovation and Philanthropy
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
2:00 Eastern / 1:00 Central / 12:00 Mountain / 11:00 Pacific

This dynamic program is designed for leaders eager to leverage the transformative power of artificial intelligence to work smarter and faster thus freeing up valuable time to work on other priority projects. Participants will dive into the mechanics of popular AI tools, learn the craft of effective prompt engineering, explore ethical considerations, and develop strategies for broader AI implementation. Through a mix of interactive discussions and real-world case studies, leaders will discover how to use AI to generate creative content that resonates with their donors, automate routine tasks, and jumpstart their creativity. Here is a link to a new Innovative Philanthropy podcast on Spotify, hosted by Michelle. Register.

Advancement Officers Online Meetings (including links to recordings)

Our April 30, 2024 meeting, The Pros and Cons of Fundraising Events, ICFAD invited Advancement Officers and their Deans to participate in an online discussion about best practices related to fundraising events – from those with a long history to those being considered. Each participant was invited to facilitate discussion and share their screen with examples as desired. The more of us who participate in this collegial collaboration, the more we are all able to learn from each other! Here are the bullet points that Diane shared.

Our January 30, 2024 meeting, Friendraising: Engaging Departments for Legislative Successdiscussed the many opportunities and benefits that come from a healthy and robust relationship with local, state and national legislators -- relationships which bolster traditional fundraising efforts. All participants were encouraged to share best practices. Facilitated by Alice K. Alt, Vice President of Advancement and Fundraising, Kentucky College of Art + Design (KyCAD), who shared KyCAD's several successes at the state level in Kentucky and how strategic collaboration among KyCAD's departments aided in yielding those successes. This discussion was also lead by Robin Phillips, Director of Development at the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts, at Texas Tech University, and Diane Zapach, Senior Director of Development at UNLV College of Fine Arts, who shared the legislative cultures of Texas and Nevada. Diane also worked for SUNY for several years and can provide some reflections about New York. Here is the slide deck that Alice shared. Here is the slide deck that Robin shared. 

A Most Noble Profession: Inspiration and Values to Fuel your Fundraising CareerWhat are the underpinnings of our society and the mission/purpose of education? This may seem a strange place to start for a presentation on fundraising. Yet it is the basis behind all of our work. Andrea E. Morris, MSW is Head of Advancement for the College of Arts and Social Sciences at The Australian National University, has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore and arrived in her fundraising career by accident.

Shifts and Trends in Development in the Wake of a Global Experience: an in-person workshop for arts advancement professionals: 
presentations and discussions focused on Capital Campaign Practices and Strategies for Institutions of All Sizes; Foundational Philanthropy Success Stories; and Current Dynamics in Advancement. Agenda.

Presenting in our May 2023 meeting, Rethinking Who Qualifies as a Prospect, was Jim Langley, President of 
Langley Innovations, who has pioneered a number of practices that have been emulated by hundreds of institutions of higher learning. The knowledge he acquired from conceiving and conducting three path-breaking campaigns at three major institutions, as well as the insight he has gleaned from decades of research on donor behavior, has been shared in five books, dozens of articles, hundreds of blog posts and scores of seminars, workshops and speeches. We can’t say enough about Jim Langley and the knowledge he shares with arts deans and their advancement officers. View slide deck here.

Our April 2023 meeting, Capital or Comprehensive: To Lead or Follow, was facilitated by 
Valerie Morris, Dean Emerita of the College of Charleston School of the Arts and William T. (Billy) Clow, Dean, College of Fine Arts and Communication, Western Illinois University.

Our March, 2023 meeting, Creative Entrepreneurship as a Catalyst for Advancement Opportunities, facilitated by Valerie Jenkins, Chair of Art Practice and Crafts,  College for Creative Studies; Janis L. McKay, Vice Dean, College of Fine Arts, University of Las Vegas Nevada in partnership with Diane Zapach, Senior Director of Development, College of Fine Arts, University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Our February 2023 meeting, Transform Your Fundraising With Creativity, facilitated by Stephanie Balzer a writer, leadership coach, and nonprofit professional who works at the intersection of coaching, creativity and enterprise. In this workshop, she shared some coaching and creative skills that anyone can use in their engagement with donors and staff. Your nature is to be creative -- why would your fundraising be different?! 

Our January 2023 meeting, Building and Sustaining a Parent Giving Program, facilitated by Michelle Glenn Costa, Senior Executive Director of Advancement, Campus Colleges and Schools, University of Utah will cover the internal obstacles one may need to overcome before starting a parent giving program, the differences between cultivating parents vs alumni, and the key components of a successful parent giving program. Here is the slide deck from the presentation.

Our May 2022 meeting, Fundraising Zoom Revolution and Evolution of Philanthropy for a discussion in which our presenter will review several case studies from UC San Diego. Consider the statistics. In 2020, the first year of the pandemic, Americans gave $471.44 billion, a 5.1% increase from 2019. Foundation giving increased to $88.55 billion, a 19% increase from 2019. In 2020, the largest source of charitable giving came from individuals at $324.10 billion or 69% of total giving. What caused this increase?  What did Zoom open up that we hadn’t considered before?  We experienced amazing opportunities to grow our donor base and the funds we raise in unexpected ways. Why?

Our April 2022 meeting,  Best Practices for Successful Advancement Communications focused on being sure we’re truly communicating and not just talking, while considering best practices for advancement-related communications. 
Facilitating our conversation was Royce Smith, Dean, College of Arts & Architecture, Montana State University and Luis Islas, Director of Development at the Montana State University Alumni Foundation and liaison to the College of Arts and Architecture. Here is a copy of the page from UNLV’s Annual Report featuring the story about Alison Vondrak.

Our March 2022 meeting, Stories of Challenging Advancement Experiences was centered around peer-to-peer learning as we cultivate engagement of advancement officers in arts programs in higher education and deepen our understanding of best practices for the profession in which we are all engaged.

Our February 2022 meeting,Membership and Affinity Groups: The Ups & Downs was facilitated by George Mason University’s Susan Graziano and Florida State University’s Jessica Comas shared how their organizations are structured and moderated a discussion about the ups and downs of membership and affinity groups. Participants were encouraged to share ideas with one another in small groups. Here is a recording of the rest of the session.


Our January 2022 meeting, Cleveland Institute of Art’s $75 Million Capital Campaign that was used to unite a two-part campus separated by a half mile. Planning for the campaign started in 2000, with the campaign kicking off in 2010. The second phase began in 2012, and in 2015 CIA welcomed students to its newly unified campus. All campaign financing was paid off in 2017 ahead of schedule, which in turn allowed CIA to construct a new residence hall. That project was supported by bond financing, another option for capital support. Our January 2022 program featured Grafton Nunes, CIA President + CEO; Ruth Eppig, CIA board member; and Malou Monago, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and External Relations discussing how this successful campaign weathered the economic downturn of 2008–09, while yielding almost double their campaign goal. They also shared how CIA was able to accelerate the closing of all debt. Here is a link to a recording of the session.

Our November 2021 meeting, White Papers: The Most Effective Fundraising Tool, facilitated by Jim Langley, President of Langley Innovations, who has pioneered a number of practices that have been emulated by hundreds of institutions of higher learning. The knowledge he acquired from conceiving and conducting three path-breaking campaigns at three major institutions, as well as the insight he has gleaned from decades of research on donor behavior, has been shared in five books, dozens of articles, hundreds of blog posts and scores of seminars, workshops and speeches. We can’t say enough about Jim Langley and the knowledge he shares with arts deans and their advancement officers. You may view his presentation slides here.

Here is the presentation shared at our October 2021 meeting, Public and Private Fundraising for the SDU Performing Arts Districts. San Diego State University (SDSU) launched a philanthropic campaign to supplement a state allocation to build a new Performing Arts District (PAD) on campus. The discussion was led by Elise Moersch, who shared images of the PAD, discussed marketing 'naming' opportunities and shared strategy on receiving a $6 million naming gift. Here is a document about the Donor Bench Opportunities.

Jim Langley, President of Langley Innovations, has pioneered a number of practices that have been emulated by hundreds of institutions of higher learning. The knowledge he acquired from conceiving and conducting three path-breaking campaigns at three major institutions, as well as the insight he has gleaned from decades of research on donor behavior, has been shared in five books, dozens of articles, hundreds of blog posts and scores of seminars, workshops and speeches.  As a result, his expertise and insight, particularly on how institutions can adapt best to changing and unchanging philanthropic realities, is highly sought after by Canadian and U.S. institutions and professional advancement organizations. View our June 2021 discussion, Is Fundraising Keeping Up With Philanthropic Behaviors? Here is a copy of the slide deck Jim shared in his presentation.

In February 2020, Penn State completed an ambitious fundraising campaign to support construction of a new University art museum that will be physically located and programmatically integrated with The Arboretum at Penn State. The Division of Development and Alumni Relations was charged with raising $13.9 million in 12 months to secure an overall project budget of $85 million. Here is a link to the April 2021 presentation, Case Study in Capital Campaigns for Fine Arts Facilities and Equipment.

Here is the presentation shared at our March 2021 meeting, Metrics: Motivating or Mindless? It’s hard to know if we’ve made progress if we don’t measure but if we measure the wrong things in the wrong way, we will halt if not reverse progress. In fact, misconceived and misapplied metrics are major contributors to low morale and high turnover in many advancement operations. In this session, Jim Langley showed us which metrics promote sustained success and enhance donor retention and which produce some short-term results yet trigger damaging long-term consequences. View his slideshow here

Our February 2021 meeting featured a presentation about the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts at the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and the $20 million gift from the Johnny Carson Foundation to establish it.

Here is the presentation shared at our January 2021 meetingHow to Ask for an Estate Gift without Anxiety or Fear by Dr. Russell James, J.D., Ph.D., CFP® who is a professor in the Department of Personal Financial Planning at Texas Tech University. He holds the CH Foundation Chair in Personal Financial Planning and directs the on-campus and online graduate program in Charitable Financial Planning. Here is text of the presentation with footnotes for those interested in the academic research and sources for the suggestions.

Here is the presentation shared at our
November 2020 meeting: Gratitude and Stewardship Strategies.

Our
 October 2020 meeting: Scholarship Guidelines & Best Practices when targeting programs and scholarships for under-represented populations. Here is an example of a new advocate scholarship at UNLV. Also, here is a document about scholarship restrictions as authored by National Association of College and University Attorneys.

Here is the presentation shared at our September 2020 meeting: Reimagining a More Inclusive Advancement Office. accompanied by an article entitled No More Waiting to Push to Increase Diversity in Higher Ed, authored by our speaker. Robin Seymour shared information about Penn State University’s Educational Equity Matching Grant. Recommended reading: Diversity’s Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work by Daryl G. Smith.