As institutions of higher education look to increase philanthropic support to help offset the dramatic, immediate impact the pandemic has had on earned revenue, building a robust major gifts program has been critical to supporting the mission. GG+A is committed to helping you be successful in this work. This Masterclass is our premier educational program designed specifically for fundraising professionals in higher education who serve in frontline fundraising roles or support those who do.

This Masterclass is devoted to the art and science of major gifts work in higher education institutions. You will hear industry experts share best practices, powerful insights, and memorable examples of their experience raising major gifts and providing counsel to our higher education clients. Through lessons, case studies, and guided discussions, participants will gain a deep understanding of major gifts best practices and learn how to deploy them.


When: June 22-24, 2021
10 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. CDT


Six Focused Workshop Topics and Two Post-Webinar Follow-Up Sessions


Continue scrolling to learn more about the three-day Masterclass, register, and process your payment for $595.

Higher Education Major Gifts

Schedule at a Glance


Tuesday, June 22


8:00 PDT / 9:00 MDT/ 10:00 CDT / 11:00 EDT

Session 1: Communicating institutional priorities and impact

Sharing your organization’s vision and the expected impact of significant gifts is essential to meeting your goals. In this session, we will provide guidance to help you align your fundraising strategy with your organization’s priorities, articulate your case for support, and define impact.


9:30 PDT / 10:30 MDT/ 11:30 CDT / 12:30 EDT



9:45 PDT / 10:45 MDT/ 11:45 CDT / 12:45 EDT

Session 2: Building relationships – qualification and cultivation

In order to secure major gifts, cultivation must be much more than lunch (especially Zoom lunch). In this session, we will discuss effective approaches to intentionally engaging prospects in discussion and capturing information that helps decide where to take the relationship next. Then we will explore how to develop a deep understanding of prospects’ motivations for giving and philanthropic passions. Participants will learn how to engage and move prospects towards donor readiness for both in-person and virtual settings.


Wednesday, June 23


8:00 PDT / 9:00 MDT/ 10:00 CDT / 11:00 EDT

Session 3: Effective portfolio management

Major gift staff, whether new or experienced, need continual focus on managing their portfolio of assigned prospective donors. This session emphasizes best practices on portfolio size and composition, and timely movement of prospects through the major gift cycle.


9:30 PDT / 10:30 MDT/ 11:30 CDT / 12:30 EDT



9:45 PDT / 10:45 MDT/ 11:45 CDT / 12:45 EDT

Session 4: Managing the ask – soliciting, negotiating, and closing gifts

Successful solicitations require thoughtful planning, the right partners, and the ability to overcome objections. This session will prepare you to know when the time is right to make the ask, how to deliver a successful proposal, who should be involved in the solicitation, and how to strengthen the likelihood of a mutually beneficial outcome.


Thursday, June 24


8:00 PDT / 9:00 MDT/ 10:00 CDT / 11:00 EDT

Session 5: Working with key fundraising partners

In this current environment, collaborating with key partners such as board members and institutional leadership is more important than ever. Yet many organizations struggle with how to deploy leadership in ways that advance fundraising objectives. This session will provide a framework for engaging your board, academic, and institutional leaders in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship in ways that are effective, meaningful, and efficient.


9:30 PDT / 10:30 MDT/ 11:30 CDT / 12:30 EDT



9:45 PDT / 10:45 MDT/ 11:45 CDT / 12:45 EDT

Session 6: A comprehensive fundraising program – working with annual giving, alumni relations, and planned giving

Major gifts fundraising is a critical part of your institution’s fundraising program, but to build a comprehensive program we must collaborate with our colleagues. This session will focus on building a bridge between leadership annual giving and major gifts that helps move donors up the philanthropic continuum, using blended gifts to advance major gift conversations, and harnessing the power of your alumni network.

Higher Education Major Gifts Masterclass Team


Andrew Allred, Senior Vice President, joined GG+A in 2012 bringing more than 25 years of professional experience in development, fundraising, and management within higher education, medical, and cultural institutions.

Andrew leads GG+A’s Asia Pacific focus area which brings all of the resources of the firm to Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia as part of GG+A’s heightened commitment to global practice. In addition, he also has an expansive work history in the United States and Canada, working with his clients to build long-term fundraising success in ongoing development efforts and campaigns through consulting, coaching, and interim management positions. By specializing in a team approach, Andrew has worked with clients to create new staffing models, which in turn help them achieve greater fundraising success. He has extensive experience in the evaluation of current fundraising programs; identification of fundraising opportunities and strategies; organization of fundraising priorities; guidance of planning and execution of major campaigns; and management of all facets of a development program, including planned, principal, major, annual giving and stewardship, advancement services, and donor relations.

Andrew’s wealth of experience working with complex universities and healthcare systems, as well as cultural institutions, allows him to understand each client’s distinct culture of philanthropy, helping them build accelerated, sustainable fundraising programs.

Andrew has been a leader at GG+A in its virtual practice having delivered gift officer trainings, one to one gift officer and management coaching, and report deliveries over video feeds since 2016.


Laura SimicVice President, brings more than 30 years of experience in fundraising and management within higher education institutions to the GG+A team.

Before joining GG+A, Laura served Boise State University, as Boise State’s Vice President of Advancement. There, she was responsible for leading the advancement division’s teams in development, donor relations, alumni relations, communications and operations, in addition to planning and leading multi-million-dollar campaigns for scholarships and facilities. Laura counseled the University president and board members, as well as trained volunteers, administrators, and faculty in fundraising, donor relations, and alumni activities. Her leadership secured the University’s largest single gift to date of $25 million.

Prior to this role, Laura was Interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and the Senior Associate Vice President for Development and Campaign Director at Creighton University; Associate Vice Chancellor for Development at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and Assistant Vice President and Director of Planned Giving at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Director of Development for the UTK College of Communications and University Libraries.  Laura began her career at the University of Oregon where she served as the Coordinator of Library Development and the Principal Coordinator of the Library Capital Project.

Laura is a Certified Fund Raising Executive and has audited coursework in taxation and estate planning at the University of Tennessee College of Law. She is currently a Trustee of the Mortar Board National Foundation, and Director of the Idaho Women’s Charitable Foundation, the Boise Art Museum and Opera Idaho. She has previously served in volunteer leadership roles for a myriad of organizations in education, the arts and youth services, including the University of Oregon National Alumni Association and the Delta Delta Delta Foundation.

Laura received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Oregon and a Master of Sciences in education and leadership studies from the University of Tennessee.

Feedback from previous Masterclass participants

“GG+A’s Masterclass provided clear, specific recommendations. So many other training sessions keep things vague and general, so I really appreciated the specificity – it is much more actionable.”

“I was very impressed with the Masterclass – absolutely the best workshop I have attended!”

Registration Information

Registration fee $595


  • Registered attendees who cancel 10 or more business days prior to the Masterclass will be refunded the full registration fee.
  • There will be no refunds for cancellations made fewer than 10 business days before the start of the program. However, should an attendee cancel fewer than 10 business days prior, another attendee from the same organization may attend instead at no additional cost.
  • A no-show to the Masterclass does not constitute a cancellation. No refunds will be given to no-shows.

Cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing Damian Chlanda at

Confirmation of Masterclasses

Occasionally, GG+A may be forced to cancel a scheduled workshop due to insufficient registration. If this is the case, we will cancel the workshop no later than 10 business days prior to the start date. In the unlikely circumstance this happens, registrants will receive a cancellation notice 10 business days prior to the start of the Masterclass.

Registration Closed

Below, you can register to join our wait list