Top 10 Takeaways from RAISE 2018 – Part 2

And…we’re back! Using a culmination of live tweets, Linkedin posts, and insights gathered from our diverse speakers and panelists from RAISE 2018 attendees, we present to you the final 5 top takeaways from our third annual RAISE conference.

Does one of these stand out as a key takeaway for your team? Want a blog post dedicated to one of these themes? Tweet @evertrue #RAISE2018 and let us know!

(If you missed part 1 of this two-part series, go ahead and read it now.)



6. “There is no such thing as a perfect culture… there is an authentic culture.”



Becky McCullough, director of recruiting for HubSpot, kicked off the second day of RAISE 2018 with a powerful message on company culture.

Becky’s presentation focused on how a great culture helps companies succeed, but a great culture also doesn’t happen on its own. It takes everyone — from the top to the bottom of the organizational chart — to be a part of creating the environment they actually want to work in.

Becky talked about the need for leaders to invest time in building a culture and to set the tone for the organization. She emphasized the need for honesty and transparency, saying “There’s no such thing as a perfect culture. There is such a thing as an authentic culture. Strive for that.”


7. The Right Tools + The Right Message

During a sales-focused panel, we learned about Syracuse University’s innovative approach to managing the middle of the pyramid. David Wishart, AVP of Philanthropic Engagement, runs a team of four development associates who operate like an inside sales team. These “junior gift officers” work to discover new, unassigned prospects and build relationships with a portfolio of leadership donors (RIT runs a similar program, learn about it here). It’s a way for Syracuse to grow homegrown talent to support its development program.

Two other experts, Pia Heilmann, Director of Sales for Threat Stack, and Geshri Gunasekera, Director of Industry Solutions Management of Higher Education at, shared how they manage their own sales teams. Their focus is on using the right technology to know when a prospect is ready for outreach which helps each salesperson or business development representative determine goals in terms of their number of touchpoints.

Both fundraisers and for-profit salespeople require the same thing: the right technology to better understand each prospect and the knowledge to deliver a powerful message when the time is right.


8. “Want to know what your audience needs? Ask!”

We brought marketers from three varying companies together — Wayfair, Drift, and Puma — to discuss how they segment their audience and turn prospects into both customers and brand ambassadors.

With great tips like “measure the ROI of everything” from Courtney Lawrie of Wayfair to “recruit ambassadors to tell your story for you” from Ann Unger of Puma, there were plenty of ways for attendees to turn ideas into action.

And if you don’t know what your audience cares about or wants from you, Dave Gerhardt, VP of Marketing at Drift, had great advice: “Get out there and talk to people. Talk to five real people in-person.”


9. Trust and Empower Your Ambassadors

In talking about LinkedIn’s role as both a place for networking and for prospective students to discover universities, Jessica Naeve, director for the education vertical, said schools needed to leverage their alumni.

When users list their alma mater and graduation year on profiles, it helps them easily connect with each other. But it also means that content from their school or college automatically appears in their LinkedIn feed, giving institutions another way to build community with alumni.

Jessica suggested using your most connected and engaged graduates to help spread the word about your institution on LinkedIn. Asking them to create and share content helps prospective students learn more before applying and showcases the value of the alumni network to other potential donors.



10. “Technology is a tool, not a strategy.”

Switchboard’s Co-Founder and CEO, Mara Zepeda, shared insights on the importance of adding value to constituent relationships during The Advancement Ecosystem in Action breakout session.


Mara talked about what it looks like to shift from outdated, all-in-one solutions to the future of advancement with the newest technology. She explained how technology is not a solution, but it helps to create a solution. She asked, “It really comes down to: what is the value that the technology delivers and how can you have the highest possible ROI for your community?”

#RAISE2018 Takeaway

So, there you have it! And this was just a brief overview of RAISE 2018…

Lucky for you, this is not goodbye until next year. There are many more key insights that we’ll share in the coming weeks.

Subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss an update! Post a comment and let us know what resonated most with you. AND stay tuned for details and dates for 2019…we better see you there!

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