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For the past 30 years, Lawrence Direct Marketing, Inc. (LDMI) has worked closely with Catholic nonprofits to raise millions of dollars in support of their charitable missions. Catholic fundraising is a specialty of ours, which is why LDMI is a proud member of the National Catholic Development Conference (NCDC).

Recently, LDMI Creative Director Adam Cassandra, Online Marketing Manager Sean Finnegan and I traveled to San Diego, California, for the 49th annual NCDC Conference and Exposition. Exhibiting at this conference presented great opportunities to support a wonderful organization and showcase LDMI’s success fundraising in “the Catholic market.”

Sean and I were also given the opportunity to present one of the breakout sessions, which was very well received.

Despite dealing with jet lag for the entire trip, it was refreshing to be in the company of so many people who embraced the culture of learning and service that is the hallmark of NCDC. The traffic in the Exhibitor Hall was light compared to past years, but the level of engagement from the Catholic nonprofit community was unparalleled.

We kicked off the conference with a prayer vigil and opening address by NCDC President Sister Georgette Lehmuth, who reminded us to show our Christian faith by our love. Sr. Georgette also announced that the 50th annual NCDC conference in 2018 will be held in Chicago, and she expected it to be the biggest yet.

Adam, Sean and I consoled ourselves about being away from our children and wives by enjoying the incredible seafood San Diego has to offer. The sushi was so fresh it tasted like the fish leaped out of the harbor onto our plates.

In addition to enjoying beautiful views of San Diego Bay and Coronado Island across the Bay, we watched in wonder at the sailboats, fishing vessels, yachts and even Navy destroyers that made their way into and out of “The Big Bay.” We also witnessed a boat that burned in the harbor for the better part of two days under the watchful eyes of local police, fire and Coast Guard professionals. Luckily, no one was injured, and the fire was extinguished.

The highlight of the conference for me was presenting with Sean on donor newsletters.

Our session, titled, Using Donor Newsletters to Bond Donors While Covering Costs,was well attended by an engaged and diverse group of Catholic fundraising professionals from around the world. Sean and I were both struck by the in-depth questions from the audience, which made us feel like we were speaking to the right audience who really appreciated the information we had to share.

Father Manuel Williams, C.R. of Resurrection Catholic Missions of the South, accepting on behalf of his coworker Erica Shepherd.Finally, we wish to congratulate, Erica Shepherd, from the Resurrection Catholic Missions of the South in Montgomery, Alabama, who won our $100 exhibit booth giveaway (accepted by Father Manuel Williams, C.R.). We drew her name from our basket of business cards Saturday afternoon as the closing act on our Exhibit Hall show. Many thanks to all the wonderful people who stopped by the booth and entered the drawing as well as all those who just stopped by to chat.

We are greatly looking forward to continuing the new friendships we made in San Diego and look forward to even more in Chicago 2018.