Programs & Events

The value of your membership in WIDN is access to our monthly informative and interactive programs.  We send out registration opportunities with our monthly e-newsletter. Guests may attend up to two events at no cost, except the Winter Holiday Party and June Best Practices program which are members-only.

Meetings are usually held the first Tuesday of the month, September through June, with informal networking starting at 11:30 (feel free to bring your lunch). Program presentation runs from 12:00 – 1:30 and is hosted by a different non-profit organization each time.

If you are not yet a member and are interesting in joining our group, please contact Lauren Chilvers at


Attaining and Managing Grants with Pamela Cairns & Rachel Sacks of Leading Health Futures @ Evanston Township High School Foundation
Nov 7 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Learn about successful grant-raising experiences including:
-How-to’s for the five phases of the grants life cycle (identifying prospects, developing relationships, preparing competitive submissions, stewarding every response – favorable or otherwise; and renewals);
-Insights into designing an effective programs; and
-Practical approaches to keep grant-raising strategy connected to program staff and finance.


Pamela Cairns   To learn more about Pam Click here


To read about Rachel Sacks  Click here

Parking: Visitor parking is available on Dodge Ave. across from the main school entrance (Lot 7) and in the rear (west side) of the school. The rear entrance parking (Lot 1) can be accessed from either Church St. on the north or Lake St. on the south. If parking in the rear of the school, enter through the South Entrance- Door 2. All visitors must present a photo ID upon entering to receive a visitor pass. If you are unable to find a “visitor” spot, park in any open spot and let the security guard know upon entry so you will not be ticketed.

This presentation is eligible for 1.5 CFRE credits.

Developing Major Gift Strategies Workshop with CCS Fundraising ∙ Development Services ∙ Strategic Consulting @ Rotary International
Dec 5 @ 8:00 am – 11:00 am

Major Gift Strategies: There are many factors in a major gift request that are beyond our control, so we must control every factor that we can. Developing a major gift strategy for each key prospect will allow you to identify the most capable and ready prospects and determine the best approach. Being armed with a strategy, you will increase chances of success to secure the largest gift possible and open the door to your next request.

This workshop, lead by Laura Aikens, Senior Vice President of CCS offers 3 CFRE credits.  Laura’s bio is below.

Parking: Please leave time for parking knowing that the meters have time restrictions. We recommend using the paid garage at (Sherman Plaza Self Park, 821 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201; Enter from Davis Street or Benson Ave.; 847-491-6908)
( and walk a couple blocks to One Rotary Center (1560 Sherman Ave at Grove Street).

Aikens, Laura

Laura Aikens joined CCS in 2009 and brings more than 14 years of experience working with local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations. Her areas of expertise include strategic planning, data analysis, major gift program development, annual fund operations, and leadership engagement. She is especially skilled at raising funds in resource-poor environments and has helped numerous organizations achieve their highest fundraising levels in years. Laura has assisted her clients in raising a combined total exceeding $500 million.

Major Gifts: Who should be solicited and measuring success with David Lively, (Associate Vice President, Northwestern University) @ Midwest Young Artists
Jan 9 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Program: In recent years the field of advancement has seen a tremendous drive to implement metrics to manage and measure the work of major gift officers and others throughout the organization. These efforts have been driven by factors ranging from the need to measure the return on investment to the need to increase fundraising outcomes. In this session we will explore several case studies to illustrate a proven system to measure major gift productivity.


Building Relationships with Corporate Funders with Louise Packard (Manager of Corporate Citizenship, Allstate Insurance Co.) @ Omni Youth Services
Feb 6 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Program: Learn about Allstate’s vision for its corporate responsibility programs and how the corporation articulates the value of these programs to their stakeholders – including employees, agency owners, customers, consumers, opinion leaders and community partners.  Learn what Allstate seeks to achieve through relationships with community partners and hear examples of some exemplary partnerships.

Fundraising Trends with Derek Breau (Manager Sales Group) & Katherine Russell (Regional Account Executive), Blackbaud @ Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago
Mar 6 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Program: Learn about best practices, the latest industry trends and tips/tricks pertaining to donor analytics, online giving, social ambassadors and more!

Getting Out of The Story Rut: The Ancient myth that’s the key to modern marketing with Michael Hoffman (CEO of See3) @ Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society
Apr 3 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Program: Every time we communicate, our words become part of a bigger story in the minds of our audiences. What story are you telling? Are you moving your audience to action, or positioning them as passive spectators to your organization’s heroics? In this workshop, we’ll use the framework of The Hero’s Journey to assess and adjust your organization’s storytelling strategy, and provide you the tools to tell a new, empowering story. Participants will be provided with a template for assessing and adjusting their organization’s storytelling.

Fund Development Planning & Evaluation with Dr. Marcia Lipetz @ Y.O.U. (Youth & Opportunity United)
May 1 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Program: Learn how to plan your fund development work which will produce results along with ways to evaluate their success

Parking: You can park in the lot on the southeast corner of Church and Dodge or on the street in front of or across the street from our building.  Parking in the surrounding neighborhood is restricted to permit parking.

Prospect identification with Carl Davis (Major Gifts Officer for The Rotary Foundation) @ Rotary International
Jun 5 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm

Program: Learn about the donor-centric approach to individual giving focusing on how to identify, cultivate, solicit and steward major gifts from individual donors in the United States.

Book Information:  Carl Davis is the author of Because Donors Want to Share: A Donor-Centric Approach to Individual Fundraising.  His book will be available for $10 for WIDN members and $25 for guests.  You can also purchase the book online.  Only one book will be available at the $10 discount rate per WIDN member, additional books will be $25.

Parking: Please leave time for parking knowing that the meters have time restrictions. We recommend using the paid garage at (Sherman Plaza Self Park, 821 Davis St, Evanston, IL 60201;

Enter from Davis Street or Benson Ave.; 847-491-6908) and walk a couple blocks to One Rotary Center (1560 Sherman Ave at Grove Street).