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It was great to be in Orlando in December 2023 to spend time talking about board service with A Special Wish Foundation! Thank you, Lisa Hardin, for inviting me into the conversation. These wonderful organizations and team members make dreams come true for those kiddos and families that need it most. Keep up the amazing work!

One of the greatest highlights of Melanie's career was serving as the Chair for the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners Board in 2016. Going to the CGP conference every year is like old home week. It was an honor to speak to an amazing group of professionals, meet new friends, and celebrate with those legends I’ve know for years in early November 2023! Thanks to CGP for all they do for our profession. 

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Thank you to the Independent Colleges of Indiana for inviting Melanie in to workshop fundraising with their 2023 Leadership Cohort in November. ICI does amazing things for Indiana’s independent colleges, and those colleges and colleagues change the world! Thank you, ICI, for all they do to support higher education. ICI is a strong voice for our institutions! 

It was a "dream come true" for Melanie to keynote the Association of Wish Granting Organizations 2023 conference in October 2023 in Indianapolis!  An amazing group of difference-makers in the beautiful city of Indianapolis. Thank you J'Lynn Mayes for the invitation. 

What an absolute honor it was to keynote the Maine Planned Giving Council’s annual conference in Portland, ME in September 2023! A wonderful group of engaged and engaging participants rolled out the red carpet. Thank you to all of the sponsors and participants.
Toledo was the September 2023 location of a two-day major and planned gifts workshop courtesy of The Center for Nonprofit Resources and AFP of Northwest Ohio! Tremendous resources are available to local philanthropic professionals thanks to these organizations and the Greater Toledo Community Foundation. Thank you for the invitation Milva Valenzuela Wagner!
Melanie had a great time facilitating real-world hands-on learning in the Windy City with her Wittenberg comrades Rebecca K. and Kristina Smith Devine. They presented for the CASE Campaigns Workshop, on Dec. 5-7th 2022. They shared best practices for planning and implementing successful campaigns, and Illustrated how successful campaigns can advance your institution’s strategic initiatives.  Learn more
There’s no place like home! At least that’s what it felt like when Melanie was the keynote speaker for the ICAA Summer Conference at Wittenberg on March 25, 2022.  Melanie loved her time on the ICAA board years ago with friends David Smittle and Andrew M. Kocher, who were in attendance. And Wittenberg friends Rebecca Kocher, Chris Nelson, and Teri Putt make NPC's consulting work a joy!  Thanks to ICAA, Lee Ann Jourdan, and Chris for the invite! Find these wonderful organizations at and!
Thank you to the Association of Philanthropic Counsel for tapping Melanie to chair the 2022 Winter Forum. The virtual conference was held on January 27 & 28, 2022 and focused on "The Business of Our Business," providing invaluable support to those across the nation whose job involves philanthropic consulting. It was a great success thanks to the work of an awesome committee!  Check out APC at
What an honor it was for Melanie to return to The Independent Colleges of Indiana twice in 2021 (January & December) to speak with Leadership Academy professionals about Fundraising in the Context of Higher Education. These leaders will provide meaningful guidance for Indiana's incredible institutions of higher education. Thank you, ICI, for the invitation and partnership!  Benjamin Franklin said, "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."  NPC agrees!
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October 2021 provided two incredible opportunities for NPC to roll out a new program with the superb Eric D. Motycka, PHd, CFP. Melanie and Eric presented extended workshops on Completing the Puzzle - Planned Giving Solutions that Fulfill Comprehensive Financial, Charitable, and Life Plans for the Richmond (VA) Jewish Foundation and the Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County. Thank you to these superb organizations! We look forward to completing our book covering similar, important principles in the year to come.
Stelter is a name that needs no introduction, and the opportunity to present for their 2021 Webinar Series was a highlight of the year!  More than 1,000 attendees signed up to hear Melanie present Weaving Planned Giving into Your Donor Conversations. Thank you to all who attended and shared their feedback. Find this awesome company at
Who doesn't love Colorado...any time of the year!  Although the presentation was virtual, the affinity was still as strong. Honored to present Weaving Planned Giving into Your Donor Conversations for the Colorado Planned Giving Roundtable on March 4, 2021. Thank you for the invitation and fingers crossed for an in-person venture next time!
Thank you to awesome partner Sleek Consulting LLC for inviting me to headline the Feb. 24, 2021 session of their 21st Century Fundraising Webinar Series and sharing Hitting the Trifecta:  Three Core Strategies for Fundraising Success in and Beyond the Pandemic. It is such an honor to be associated with this top-notch fundraising engagement and technology firm! Find them at
It was a November to remember in 2020 on the speaking circuit, with two significant speaking events for NPC in partnership with The Independent Colleges of Indiana and The Douglas W. Eberle Nonprofit Board Governance Series for the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette.  Multiplying the impact of philanthropy and education across the state, you can find out more about these outstanding organizations by visiting their websites: and
Who says you can't be in two places at once?  Our new virtual world gave Melanie J. Norton a chance to double dip and present at the national conference for the National Association of Gift Planners AND at her alma mater, Franklin College, for Homecoming on October 8, 2020!   Twice as nice, for sure, and an honor to be asked by both!
Thank you to Mindi Epstein and Top Floor Women for inviting Melanie J. Norton to present "Business As (Un!) Usual:  Finding the Silver Linings During Stressful Times" during their June 2020 program.  While we were socially distant, it was fun to be emotionally close!  Find out more about this fabulous organization by visiting their Facebook page or website here.
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What a privilege it is to promote planned giving, the greatest fundraising opportunity for the next several decades!  Sincere thanks to Planned Giving Today for recognizing Melanie J. Norton as their Planned Giving Champion in the February 2020 issue.  A great resource for fundraisers, you can learn more about PGT by visiting their website here.
NPC was honored to be a guest speaker for Crescendo Interactive's FREE webinar series.  "Demonstrating the value of gift planning to decision makers" aired on February 6, 2020.  Thanks to Crescendo for providing this wonderful service to our field.  You can find a listing of their upcoming webinars here.
Thanks to the Kelley School of Business for inviting Melanie J. Norton as a featured guest for the ROI Podcast.  Her topic, "How to be okay with NOT settling" originally aired on January 27, 2020.  You can access the podcast here.
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Thank you Texas for the opportunity to escape Indiana in January!  NPC was delighted to make presentations for the Ft. Worth Metro Chapter of AFP and Dallas Council of Charitable Gift Planners on January 13 & 14, 2020.  What a great opportunity to connect with former and current board chairs for the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners Cathy Reagan Sheffield and Kent Weimer (pictured with Melanie at right).  Texas hospitality is spectacular...thank you for everything!


Presentations are offered on a wide variety of topics and the ability to customize to your particular need is the hallmark of an NPC speaking engagement.  A selection of Melanie J. Norton's current presentations is listed below.  Typical presentations range from 50-90 minutes unless otherwise noted.  Additional presentations on a variety of topics are available upon request. 

Create Meaningful Volunteer Opportunities for Your Major Donors and Advocates

Volunteers are essential to the success of a campaign, but unintentional “busy-work” can often have a negative effect on those donating their time. Explore ways to engage your volunteer committees and create meaningful opportunities for a deeper connection to the institution’s mission (and often lead to larger gifts and more enthusiastic donors), while not monopolizing your advancement staff’s time.

Executing a Campaign in Today’s (and Tomorrow’s) Environment

 This guided working session explores the “behind-the-scenes” of successful campaign elements.  Who are your stakeholders?  How would you describe your audience, and what should you do to wow them?  What would you do to engage without budget constraints, and how do you scale for the resources available? Answer relevant questions to begin your workshop blueprint for how to execute a campaign, beginning with budgeting, for your specific audience.


Completing the Puzzle - Planned Giving Solutions that Fulfill Comprehensive Financial, Charitable, and Life Plans

Crafting a thorough plan that incorporates purpose and accomplishments during one’s life can be messy.  Especially when fitting together all pieces of a financial and charitable plan when client priorities and goals don't seem to snap into place. By solving one puzzle are they creating another? Maybe they want a solid retirement income, but they also want to support their favorite charities beyond what cash flow currently allows.  And perhaps now or in the future, they want to provide financial support to their children or grandchildren while also providing significant support to their charities of choice. The right mindset, team, and planning tools can help the puzzle fall into place. A comprehensive plan requires puzzle pieces from multiple areas that, when fit together, create a solid foundation for providing income in retirement, support for heirs, and philanthropic support for your client's most beloved charities. This interactive presentation is provided by Melanie J. Norton CFRE, and Dr. Eric D. Motycka CFP®  and explores unique opportunities that can help donors and clients self-actualize their dreams and vision through philanthropy and intentional planning.

When Donor Passion Meets Institutional Priority...Or Not!

The absolute best gifts occur at the intersection of donor passion and institutional priority. Those are the magical gifts desired by all and the stuff from which legends are born.  They are gifts that speak to our highest needs, can be successfully executed, and allow both the institution and donor to experience the inspiring synergy that comes from shared purpose. How do we manage, however, when the gift equation is out of balance?  Or, when the organizations we serve seemingly operate as if everything is a priority?  This interactive session will help build your skillset for recognizing and crafting win-win gifts by exploring common institutional challenges:

  • Declining gifts that don’t serve our purpose – Avoiding the “gifts that take” before disaster hits

  • Executing gifts that we should have declined – Creating better outcomes when gift execution becomes a challenge

  • Managing internal expectations for uninspiring needs – Educating that not all needs are created equal where fundraising is concerned

  • Navigating a lack of institutional focus – Building the case for funding priorities and greater institutional involvement

Get clear about the pathways to greater gift and organizational success!

Business As (Un!) Usual: Finding the Silver Linings During Stressful Times

Pick up your phone or turn on the TV and it only takes seconds to feel hopelessness, despair and downright disbelief.  Our lives have changed in what seems like a matter of minutes, and we are left to pick up the pieces, navigate the unknown, and still show up for our families, friends, employers...and ourselves!  The most challenging of times also brings out the best in some of our fellow humans.  Stories of selflessness, determination, kindness and action inspire us.  In the midst of the very darkest days there are those who still seem to find the silver linings and choose to focus on what fills the tank and the difference they can make in the world.  How do we adjust our lens during times of extreme stress to stay inspired?  How can we identify what we need most to not only be there for others, but also for ourselves?  Join us for an informative session where presenter Melanie J. Norton uses the principles of fundraising success to provide perspective for everyday life during these stressful days.  Tapping into what we already know about our craft may also help us see the alternatives and focus on what really matters.

Hitting the Trifecta:  Three Core Strategies for Fundraising Success in and Beyond the Pandemic

2020 was positioned to be a year where the opportunities for raising funds and commitments had arguably never been greater.  Then a global pandemic hit the scene and threw the best-laid plans out the door.  Many organizations – and the people within them – turned the calendar to 2021 with high hopes for a sunnier forecast and a return to fundraising “normal.”  In the best of circumstances, a number of factors impact an organization’s capacity for fundraising success including competing interests for your donors' attention and dollars as well as available time and program resources. Now managers must calibrate program activities for a “new normal” and unconventional ways to connect their prospects and donors with the mission despite an unprecedented amount of communication noise and confusion.  In this “back to basics” presentation, Melanie will use relevant research to highlight the three key strategies to focus on for short- and long-term fundraising and fund raiser success.  

Simply Irresistible:  Demonstrating the Value of Gift Planning to Decision Makers

This presentation explores different ways to articulate the relevance of gift planning to those who may be less familiar with the intrinsic benefits of a robust program and effort.  Attendees will glean creative tools to better understand the stressors decision-makers face when resourcing an operation, and help gift planners "speak the language" when relating to supervisors, boards and others who impact program support.  This program investigates options for measuring program and gift planner success (metrics) and develop a narrative that will help build long-term investment in gift planning as an essential part of any comprehensive development program.

Stuck in the Middle with You:  Donor, Planner, Business Officer

Artful negotiation doesn’t apply only to the closing of a great gift. Sometimes, negotiating a complex, blended or even standard gift with internal partners can be an equal challenge. This interactive session explores the important aspects of the gift process from the lens of the person making the gift, the person closing the gift, and the partner on the inside tasked with counting the gift. Attendees will leave with a deeper understanding of the key concerns important to each partner, and helpful tips to “bridge the GAAP” between the donor and the business office. Learn how a better understanding and artful negotiation can turn adversaries into advocates, better supporting your organizational/institutional goals and creating a more rewarding work environment.


Qualifying Planned and Major Gift Donors in One Easy Visit

Do you want to quickly get to know the capacity and interests of your prospective donors? This presentation focuses on employing the structured interview process to efficiently determine who may be a major gift prospect for your organization. Learn how to use this intentional question format to get your foot in the door with a new prospect, capture information about what prospects like or dislike about your organization, uncover issues that may affect giving decisions and identify the pertinent donor information fundraisers need to know.

Who’s Giving, What Motivates Them, and How Gift Planning Enters the Conversation

Most development operations are challenged in terms of time, budget and resources. How do you focus your efforts, maximize resources, and increase philanthropic dollars for your organization?   How do you weave gift planning into the conversation to make certain you are taking advantage of the largest and most impactful gifts a donor may make? This session will explore the latest trends in giving and cover tips to help you make the most of your precious time and resources in prospect solicitation and cultivation. 

Understanding Fundraising in the Context of Higher Education

The world of development and alumni engagement is often a mystery for campus and other constituents not commonly involved in the fundraising process.  What are the steps involved in securing a gift?  How are the campus priorities determined?  Who influences the donor's area of interest?  And how can the development office raise more money for my program?  These common questions are addressed in this presentation designed to educate campus, board and other advocates about the way fundraising works and gift prospects are moved to donors.

Fundraising 101:  How it Works and How You Can Help

Asking for money can seem like a daunting process for those who don't do so on a daily basis.  How does fundraising really work?  What are the steps from a viable concept to an enthusiastic and happy donor?  This presentation takes the listener through the life cycle of a gift and helps debunk the mysteries of the process, equipping fundraising operations with enthusiastic advocates who better understand how the process works and how they can help within their comfort zones

Weaving Planned Giving into Your Donor Conversations

We've been there before.  We  have courted and know - or should know - our annual and major gift donors really well.  However, we may come to realize that we've never approached the subject of an estate or planned gift and are not sure how to do so now without feeling awkward.  In this presentation, the listener learns the techniques that afford an easy transition to what will often be the largest and most impactful gift a donor will ever make.  As the massive transfer of wealth begins in earnest over the next two+ decades, organizations that leave gift planning out of the conversation will be leaving money - and potentially the future security of the organization itself - on the line.

Strategic Gift Planning:  What We Need to Know to Serve Those Who Give

This three hour session is designed to cover the various components of the traditional planned giving infrastructure to determine how best to combine the key elements of a donor or client’s personal and philanthropic goals with the best giving vehicle to achieve maximum flexibility within the confines of trust law and/or state regulation.  The concept of using “blended gifts” as a strategy is gaining in popularity and will be discussed – along with practical examples for advisers – so that the donor or client can achieve current gifting goals in addition to testamentary or legacy objectives.  Finally, this session will contain an overview of best practices in interacting with the nonprofit community with the ultimate goal of building and maintaining a team approach to good philanthropic practice. 

Additional topics include:

Board Roles and Responsibilities, Planned Giving 101, Marketing, Donor Cultivation, Vision/Mission/Passion, Determining Fundraising Priorities, and many more.

Contact for availability and pricing:

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