What an honor it was for Melanie J. Norton to return to The Independent Colleges of Indiana on January 25, 2021 to speak with their Leadership Academy about her favorite subject:  Fundraising in the Context of Higher Education.  These academy professionals will provide meaningful leadership in support of Indiana's incredible institutions of higher education.  Thank you, ICI, for the invitation and partnership!    "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."  Benjamin Franklin   NPC agrees!
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.
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!
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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. 


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: