How to Find your Roy, Who’s Parking your Car, and other Gems from Learn & Lead 2019

We just wrapped our 3rd annual “Learn & Lead: Marketing and Fundraising in the Fort” conference.

Or was it a retreat?

Screen Shot 2019 06 06 at 9 45 45 AM

Either way, the 35 attendees from schools, churches, and faith-based nonprofits in Fort Wayne and as far south as Columbus, Indiana will tell you that the two days of sessions -- training on Marketing, Customer Service, Fundraising the “Disney Way” -- felt like a group of friends discussing best practices, led by a guy from Alabama with some great illustrations and stories… and freebies!

Below are the top 8 takeaways I had from our two days together (even after 25 years in this business, this old dog still needs to review tricks):

  • Who parks your car; who is on the front lines with your customers and donors and makes that first/last impression on them.
  • What are your fireworks; Disneyland added fireworks at the end of each day to give families something to look forward to and stay to the end of the day.
  • Ask people what they think; you may plan one view, but your customers see other things that matter most to them.
  • Give people a memory; emotion and passion always win.
  • Everything speaks; everything a customer and donor sees, hears, and experiences add to the potential positive and negative results.
  • You can gain a donor one at a time but can lose them hundreds at a time.
  • Pave the pathway; instead of putting fences around flowerbeds, Walt Disney paved pathways through the flowerbeds at Disneyland.
  • Who is your Roy; Walt Disney had his brother Roy as a sounding board and confidant.; we all need someone.
  • People will donate when the emotion received when giving is greater than the comfort received in keeping their money.

And don’t just take my words. The following are comments from attendees:

  • Outstanding!
  • The speaker had a great approach to the subject.
  • More people need to attend these!
  • Thanks for putting this event on again this year. Always of value.
  • There was nothing not to like!
  • Strong presentation, good material
  • The speaker took a very complex discussion and made it manageable.
  • I only wish you could have recorded the sessions so that I could watch them again and share with colleagues who couldn’t be here.

And perhaps most surprising, but I suppose expected from attendees, were the positive comments on the time, date, and location of the conference, so I guess we will keep this early June format going forward. Mark your Calendars accordingly! June 1 & 2, 2020.

What’s next? Learn & Lead 2020, of course! We are toying with the idea of a mid-year Learn & Lead specifically for pastors and called workers… more on that soon… and we are looking at ways to offer recorded sessions and remote “attendance”... more on that later as well.

Let’s see… 35 people in a room for two days, a speaker that gave us gifts, practical ideas to start using tomorrow, attendees wishing their other staff members were there, and only positive comments from our feedback survey... I would say Learn & Lead 2019 was a Treat, so I think “retreat” is more apt than “conference”. Would you agree?

P.S. Thanks to our sponsors: The Lutheran SGO of Indiana provided ½ scholarships for staff and leaders who attended from the 53 schools in their family of schools, and The Lutheran Schools Partnership who provided partial discounts for Lutheran nonprofit partners.

(Pictured: our presenter, Wayne Olson, with Jon before Wayne had to leave for home in Alabama.)