Donor Cultivation Training + INN Day 2016: Agenda and Speakers

This session is for: All INN member directors and staffers

Capacity: 100

Cost: All INN events are free to INN members. The Donor Cultivation Training is free to INN members but requires registration by April 30. After April 30, donor training registration will be opened to non-members on a space-available basis.



8 - 8:30 a.m.: INN networking & coffee.  Meet the newest members of INN. Coffee generously sponsored by Knight Foundation.

8:30 a.m. - noon: Building your individual donor program
Break down your fears about approaching individual donors and asking for money. Diane Carlson, one of the nation's top consultants on donor programs, leads an interactive workshop on building a major donor program for your organization, including what you can do yourself, how to productively involve your board and other community connections, how to set targets, what to expect and how to handle the process. Participants will practice how to have meaningful, productive conversations with donors and get coaching on the spot.

Noon - 12: 30 p.m.: Knight Foundation welcome and update
Jennifer Preston, Vice President for Journalism at Knight Foundation, gives an update on the foundation’s programs.

12:30 - 2 p.m.: Lunch
A break for lunch on our own. Those wanting to dive deeper can join lunch discussion leaders in small groups.

2 - 3 p.m.: Knight Innovation Fund lightning talks
Learn from your peers who have won INNovation Fund grants and experimented with new funding and audience engagement programs, such as events, leveraging community relationships and more. Hear about some of the biggest successes from the program and take away practical ideas that can be adapted to your organization. Lightning talks are quick and to-the-point -- so this session will cover a lot of ground in an hour!

  • Steve Beatty & Karen Gadbois, The Lens - Speakers Bureau
  • Anne Galloway, VTDigger - Monetizing podcasts
  • Andy Hall & Lauren Fuhrmann, WisconsinWatch - Investigative reporting + art
  • Jim Heaney, InvestigativePost - Social media strategy for audience growth
  • Lee Keough, NJ Spotlight - NJ cities symposium
  • Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press - Street team & leveraging community relationships

3:15 - 5:45 p.m.: INN Members annual meeting

  • 3:15 - 3:45 p.m. Annual meeting - executive director's report and strategic planning updates: Sue Cros
  • 3:45-4:30 p.m.: INN staff updates on operations, training, technology, Q&A: Sue Cross, Denise Malan, Adam Schweigert
  • 4:35-3:55 p.m. Board candidate speeches
  • 5-5:45 p.m. Board meeting. Brant Houston. Agenda: President's report, approval of budgets, 20 minutes board/member Q&A
  • 5:45 p.m. Online voting ends for board election


Diane Carlson

Diane Carlson

Donor workshop

Diane Carlson is founder and CEO of 121 Philanthropic Services. Her career in fundraising spans several decades, and she is a former chair of the prestigious The Giving Institute (American Association of Fundraising Counsel), which is the oldest professional organization in the fundraising field.

Jennifer Preston

Knight Foundation

Jennifer Preston joined Knight Foundation in October 2014. Previously, Preston was an award-winning journalist for The New York Times for almost 19 years, with broad experience as a digital journalist, reporter and senior editor. In 2009 she became the company’s first social media editor. In 2011 she returned to a reporting role where she focused on the impact of social media in politics, government, business and real life.

Sue Cross

Sue Cross

INN Executive Director & CEO

Sue Cross directs INN services and programs to support innovation, growth and sustainability in members' public interest news organizations. Appointed CEO in 2015, Sue previously was a digital media consultant and senior vice president at the Associated Press.


Brant Houston

INN Board Chair

Brant Houston helped launch the Institute for Nonprofit News in 2009. Houston is also Chair of Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Adam Schweigert

Adam Schweigert

WordPress and technology

Adam Schweigert is INN’s senior director of technology, overseeing development of the Largo Platform and INN’s technology consulting team.


Denise Malan


Denise Malan oversees INN's member training program, including webinars, workshops and online trainings aimed at improving business acumen among nonprofit newsroom leaders.

INNovation Fund Lightning Talks

  • Steve Beatty, Editor, and Karen Gadbois, Co-Founder and Staff Writer, of The Lens
  • Anne Galloway, executive director of Vermont Journalism Trust and editor of VTDigger
  • Andy Hall, Co-Founder and Executive Director, and Lauren Fuhrmann, associate director of Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WisconsinWatch)
  • Jim Heaney, Editor and Executive Director of Investigative Post
  • Lee Keough, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of NJ Spotlight
  • Michael Stoll, Editor and Executive Director of San Francisco Public Press


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