Maximizing professional development without leaving campus

Advancement Forum webconferences are an ideal opportunity for professional development without leaving your office. They are timed to fit into busy schedules and allow individual staff members and small groups to gain and share knowledge.

With the right planning and preparation, a 30-minute or hour-long webconference can be the driving force behind implementing new practices and strategies.

Two ways to join

You can join webconferences individually, or as part of a group. For small shops or topics relevant to specific initiatives, individuals may wish to join alone. This ensures that staff members with relevant responsibilities are able to participate, even if other members of the team are busy.


When multiple staff members are interested in viewing the content, join the webconference as a group. Organizing a lunch-and-learn (or brunch-and-learn, depending on your time zone) is a simple way to get staff members to make time for webconferences and a discussion afterwards.

Upcoming webconference: Talent review training for advancement managers

Lunch-and-learn sessions are easy to facilitate

Watching a webconference in a group is an easy way to help staff members make time for professional development. To organize the session, follow these steps:

1. Reserve a conference room or classroom for the duration of the webconference plus 30 minutes afterwards for discussion and action planning (webconference durations are listed on the registration page on Ensure that the room is equipped with a computer and conference line to view the presentation.

2. Register for the webconference(s) of your choice at or by contacting your dedicated advisor. If you are joining with a group, only one person needs to register.

3. Send an email invitation to your team or anyone in your advancement shop who could benefit from joining.

4. On the day of the webconference, you will receive the PowerPoint presentation, a discussion and strategic decision guide, and log-in information for the presentation.

5. Print the materials for all attendees, or send them electronically.

6. Dial in and listen to the webconference. Be sure to ask questions by typing them into the GoToWebinar platform. At the conclusion of the session, use the discussion and strategic decision guide to lead a group debrief and plan next steps.

Utilize the discussion and strategic decision guides

Each webconference contains a wealth of practical information, and discussing it immediately afterwards will help the entire team process and prioritize. Use the questions on the discussion guide to guide the conversation, and feel free to add other questions that are relevant to your institution.


Then, move to the strategic decision guide and think about next steps. Decide which practices from the webconference you would like to implement, and how high of a priority each one is. Assign responsibility for implementing these practices to a team member. Remember to follow up over time to hold everyone accountable.

5 imperatives to help guide managers to success

If you are watching the webconference alone, use the discussion guide for self-reflection about your strengths and areas for improvement. The strategic decision guide can help you decide which practices to incorporate into your own workflow and which to share with your colleagues. Webconferences are frequently recorded for future viewing if you would like to review the material or share them with anyone else on your team.

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