To strengthen the ability of small selective private liberal arts colleges to implement successful and innovative Annual Giving programs through the sharing of information and through networking. The S.T.A.F.F. organization relies on the expertise and involvement of its volunteer membership for the management and execution of its annual conference and other activities including member surveys, listservs, website, and mid-year directors conference.
Chair or Co-Chairs
Vice Chair or Co-Vice Chairs
Past Chair or Co-Chairs, Ex-Officio
Treasurer (Host Institution)
Conference Host Institution Representative(s)
Standards Committee Chair
Mid-Year Directors Conference Chair
Provide resources, network structure, planning and operation of annual conference held each July, identifying trends and topics in higher education as they relate to the annual fund and introducing them to conference institutions, representing membership interests. The steering committee will meet twice a year (typically in October and March), with the location to be determined by the committee, to schedule and set the agenda for the conference, to identify speakers and volunteers, and organizational plans for the July conference.
The term for any one individual on the steering committee is four years. Exceptions may be considered to extend any one term for any one additional year. The chair and vice chair may assume other roles on the steering committee following their terms so long as not to exceed a total committee term of four years. Re-entry to the steering committee is allowed after one year of step-down. The chair should remain on the committee for one year following his/her role as chair.
Membership of the steering committee should be representative of the various position levels within the field, (i.e. director, associate director, and assistant director positions). There shall be no more than one individual from a single institution represented on the steering committee with the exception of possibly two positions available from the host institution.
Working groups consisting of non-steering committee members will be appointed as needed by the steering committee
The objective of S.T.A.F.F. originates from the first conference held at Colgate University in 1986. The founding members of S.T.A.F.F. created a conference with the objective of having an "intimate" number of like institutions join in an inexpensive setting to focus on and share topics concerning annual giving. Consequently, a maximum membership of 48 institutions and the following membership criteria, requirements, and expectations addresses current membership based on the founding membership goals.
Failure to attend summer conferences for two consecutive years will result in a vote by the directors for dismissal from S.T.A.F.F.
Failure to meet any of the three membership criteria or any two out of three membership requirements within a year will receive a warning from the Membership Coordinator and will be put on a one-year probation. An institution on probation that fails to meet membership criteria or requirements for a second consecutive year will result in a vote by the directors for dismissal from S.T.A.F.F.
Final termination of membership requires a simple majority of members school directors in favor of dismissal. If a majority neither accepting nor rejecting the dismissal is attained, membership may be terminated by agreement from two-thirds of the Steering Committee members.
To continue to thrive as an organization and maintain a culture of sharing, S.T.A.F.F. member schools are expected to be active and engaged in the following:
S.T.A.F.F. is a volunteer-driven organization. As such, the general objective of the conference is to provide a two to three day conference during which member institutions are expected to participate in preparing and presenting topics of interest, facilitate discussion and focus groups, and assist in organizing and implementing other various sessions and events.
The conference should provide meaningful content with an annual giving focus at a reasonable cost so that the conference remains accessible and affordable for three professionals to attend from each member institution.
The success of the conference is accomplished, in part, by the smallness of the group of the attendees. Thus, membership in S.T.A.F.F. is limited to 48 membership institutions with a maximum of eight additional "guest" institutions invited on an annual basis, to the annual conference. The conference is limited to no more than 190 participants and will be held at the same location for two years with dormitory lodging and local accommodations available.
The S.T.A.F.F. Conference is scheduled for July each year. At the fall planning meeting, committee members will confirm and solidify the date and location of the conference, as well as notification schedules. The objective at the fall meeting is to establish the conference theme (if any), the basic structure of the program, begin the recruitment of "outside" speakers, and establish the majority of the schedule. Planning will continue through the next several months. At the winter meeting, the objective is to finalize the program and schedule, establish the list of prospective speakers, assign the speaker recruitment list, and finalize preparations at the host institution. Through the spring, the committee will communicate via email and phone where needed to finalize the speakers and other logistics in preparation for the registration mailing.
The host institution, with the support and assistance of the steering committee, is responsible for the logistics of the conference, including, but not limited to: budget, meals, registration, lodging, scheduling rooms and meeting areas, and evening recreation facilities and events. When possible, it is required that an institution host the S.T.A.F.F. Conference for two consecutive summers.
Four guest institutions are invited to participate in the annual conference each year. After two consecutive years of attendance, a guest institution must skip at least one conference before being considered for a guest institution slot again. The Membership Coordinator will keep a list of those institutions who request to participate through submission of official application by December 31. These guest institutions must meet the S.T.A.F.F. membership criteria (see above).
In addition, the host institution has the latitude to invite four additional guest institutions for a total of eight guests. These four additional guest institutions do not need to meet S.T.A.F.F. membership criteria.
At the winter meeting, the steering committee members will review quest institutions who have applied. Those chosen will be notified by the Membership Coordinator and a save the date notice will be mailed to each institution.
Guest institutions may register two professionals, which includes the director (or acting director) plus one staff member.
The attendance goal of the conference is to limit the attendance to no more than 190 participants. Each member institution is permitted to register four administrators (one director and three staff members). Members of the steering committee are not included in this four member limitation (9-14 participants). Guest institutions may register two professionals, which includes the director (or acting director) plus one staff member.
If the conference attendance is below expectations in the final weeks prior to the conference, member institutions will be allowed to register a fifth staff member, upon approval from the steering committee. This proffering will be communicated to member institutions in the registration packet/letter, or by email. Member institutions will be instructed to log such requests with the host institution at point of registration. Based on available slots, requests will be met on a first come, first served basis, with each requesting institution receiving one additional slot. If additional slots still remain, each requesting institution will receive one additional slot, following the same first come, first served order, until all slots are filled or until a single-institution limit (determined by the Steering Committee) is reached.
The objective is to keep the cost of the conference well affordable for all institutions and their members. As a result, the steering committee will make every effort to organize the conference on a college campus where dorm rooms and classrooms will be provided, as well a geographically convenient location.
A refund policy similar to the following will be in effect for the annual conference: "The conference host reserves event space, entertainment and catering services in advance of the S.T.A.F.F. Conference to ensure conference quality. In the event that you need to cancel your reservations, please provide a written request to the S.T.A.F.F. representative at the host school. Refunds will be granted at 100% 30 days prior to the conference start. Refunds at 50% will be granted up to 15 days from the conference start. No refunds will be granted 14 or fewer days before the conference start."
Decisions pertaining to general requirements of membership, general benefits of membership, which candidate school will be invited to join S.T.A.F.F. in the case of a vacant membership and other membership decisions will be made by agreement of a simple majority of S.T.A.F.F. member schools, as represented by the directors of the schools or, if a school does not currently have a director, by a senior member of the school's advancement staff, such as an assistant vice president or vice president.
To resolve a membership-related issue, typically a S.T.A.F.F. co-chair will propose a resolution to the S.T.A.F.F. schools using the directors' list serve or by presentation at a director’s meeting. The issue will be described in sufficient detail to educate the schools about the ramifications of accepting or rejecting the proposed resolution and a reasonable opportunity for discussion will be provided.
In order to change an existing organization policy, a simple majority of member schools in favor of the proposed change must be attained. In cases where the proposal represents a new policy area, if a majority neither accepting nor rejecting the proposed resolution is attained after a reasonable number of communications (for example, two email messages sent to the directors list serve, one week apart from each other), the proposal can be implemented with agreement from two-thirds of Steering Committee members.
In the case of filling a vacant membership, a list of every school that has applied to fill the current vacancy, along with a description of how each candidate school measures against the criteria established by the Steering Committee (see below) will be distributed to member schools along with the candidate school recommended by the Steering Committee (see below). Which candidate school will be offered membership must be agreed to by a simple majority of member schools.
Member schools whose annual giving directors are not attending the annual summer conference may designate another staff member (typically an associate director) to represent the school in decision-making sessions held during the conference. This staff member will represent their school as their director would in casting votes accepting or rejecting policy proposals made during the sessions. In order to designate another staff member to represent the school, the member school’s director (or, if a school does not currently have a director, a senior member of the school's advancement staff, such as an assistant vice president or vice president) is expected to notify the S.T.A.F.F. co-chairs at least one week prior to the conference.
Decisions pertaining to the details of how requirements of membership are enforced, how benefits of membership are provided and what exact form those benefits take, by which criteria potential member schools will be evaluated and other operational issues of the organization will be made by agreement of a simple majority of the Steering Committee.
To resolve an operations-related issue, typically a S.T.A.F.F. co-chair will propose a resolution to the Steering Committee using the Steering Committee listserv or by presentation during a Steering Committee meeting. The issue will be described in sufficient detail to educate the committee members about the ramifications of accepting or rejecting the proposed resolution and a reasonable opportunity for discussion will be provided.
In order to change an existing organizational policy, a simple majority of committee members in favor of the proposed change must be attained. In cases where the proposal represents a new policy area, if a majority neither accepting nor rejecting the proposed resolution is attained after a reasonable number of communications (for example, two email messages sent to the Steering Committee listserv, one week apart from each other), the proposal can be implemented with a consensus agreement by the S.T.A.F.F. co-chairs and vice-chairs. The Steering Committee, by agreement of a simple majority of committee members, can delegate decision-making authority on a specific issue, or for a specific activity, to an individual committee member or subcommittee.
In the case of filling a vacant membership, Steering Committee members will establish, through agreement of a simple majority of committee members, criteria by which candidate schools will be evaluated. Once the candidate schools' have been measured against those criteria, the Steering Committee will, by agreement of a simple majority of committee members, identify a candidate school to recommend for membership (see above).
Decisions pertaining to the leadership of the S.T.A.F.F. organization are made by the S.T.A.F.F. co-chairs, typically in consultation with the S.T.A.F.F. vice-chairs. These issues include who will be invited to join the Steering Committee, which members of the Steering Committee will be offered officer roles and which proposals will be brought to the member schools or the Steering Committee for consideration (see above).
When a decision must be made immediately in order to avoid serious harm to the S.T.A.F.F. organization and the decision-making process described above will create unreasonable delay, the S.T.A.F.F. co-chairs, typically in consultation with the S.T.A.F.F. vice-chairs, will make such decisions as are necessary. These issues and decisions must be described and reported to the Steering Committee and/or the member schools as soon as is possible and the appropriate group (see above) should be given the opportunity to revise or change the decision of the S.T.A.F.F. co-chairs if possible.
All members understand that data being shared by S.T.A.F.F. institutions include confidential information and are unaudited by the institution or by the S.T.A.F.F. organization. In recognition of the importance of maintaining the integrity and security of the shared data, S.T.A.F.F. members agree that:
• Data from other institutions is received only for their own internal planning and management, and not for external publication. Data may only be shared outside of the S.T.A.F.F. membership as long as it is presented in a way that would not allow an institution to be identified, even when its name is not used. Institutions are advised to create comparison groups of three or more institutions and report based on a group.
• Even within the institution, S.T.A.F.F. members shall use discretion in how data for other institutions are used.
• The S.T.A.F.F. representatives at each institution must ensure that anyone to whom data are given understands their confidential character and the rules governing their use.
• As stated in the Membership Objectives section of the bylaws, S.T.A.F.F. institutions are entitled to receive information from other members only in those areas and for those years for which it has provided comparable information.
• S.T.A.F.F. leadership will report data use misconduct to institutions that may be affected by the misconduct as soon as possible upon becoming aware of the issue. Violations will be reviewed by the Steering Committee and may result in loss of access to future statistics, suspension, or loss of staff membership.
Updated December 2018