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Acknowledging our Donors — A Semi-centralized Perspective

Heather James
Stewardship and Donor Relations Specialist
University of Minnesota | CFANS

thank you card

To acknowledge or not to acknowledge—that is never the question. Legal requirements aside, we want our donors to feel seen and loved for the difference they make. They are critical to our mission, and acknowledging their gifts is the right thing to do—and the smart thing to do, no matter how busy we get. 

I’m a donor relations party of one on a small but mighty development team at a college in a large, decentralized university. It feels like my to-do list is never to-done, but acknowledgments reign supreme. Fortunately, I don’t have to go it alone thanks to Ack 2.0, which sounds like an adorable robot but is actually a semi-centralized system that makes prioritizing acknowledgments manageable. In short, our foundation sends receipts, thank you emails, and thank you cards to donors across the university. Sounds generic and not very personalized? But wait—there’s more!  

Ack 2.0 is far from a one-size fits all approach. At its heart is a hierarchy of rules in which each college/unit determines how they want their donors treated based on things like donation amount, fund specifics, etc.  

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President's Message, August 2022

In Service: The Column of the ADRP President

Angela Altamore | ADRP President 
Associate Vice President
Stewardship and Donor Engagement
Kansas State University Foundation




Hello reader:

Well… the end is near. This is my last column as your President. The year has flown by!  Being able to serve you in this capacity has been the highlight of my professional career. Many days I pinch myself to be sure I’m not dreaming. When I stumbled into this profession back in 2008, I had no idea I’d find a new career, much less a new family. I say this often, but my ADRP peeps are some of my nearest and dearest. There is something therapeutic in surrounding yourself with 1,800 peers dealing with similar work and challenges. I am continuously motivated, inspired and driven by each of you.   

Words can’t fully convey my gratitude, but I’ll give it a go:
  • To our volunteers: you are the backbone of ADRP. Your devotion to our field is the foundation of our organization.
  •  To our board members: it has been an honor to serve alongside you. Thank you for your time and dedication to our members.  I never fail to learn something from each of you when we gather.
  • To my exec committee: Cheryl – thrilled to be passing the baton to you…we are in good hands!  Brie – thank you for your diligence on all things finance and conference related! And Keri – I was humbled to follow in your footsteps. Ladies – it has been my honor to serve alongside each of you.
  • To my K-State team: you’ve been supportive and encouraging as I have balanced my work life with my ADRP life and I am grateful for your patience along the journey. 
  • To Louise, Stacey and the SBI office staff: you keep our work progressing and ensure we never lose sight of our strategic vision.
  • To you… my fellow ADRP members: my wish for each of you is that your time with ADRP is as valuable for you as has been for me. I would not be where I am today without the peers I have met through ADRP.
And now I look forward to continued volunteerism with ADRP in the coming years. If you have not done so, I highly encourage it. You won’t be sorry! I hope to volunteer with you in some capacity in the very near future. My time as President is coming to an end, but I’m an ADRP peep for life! 

With gratitude,

Your Conference Experience

Make the Most of Your Conference Experience

Join us for the ADRP 2022 Annual International Conference and “Soar to New Heights” in your career. Attend our networking events, design a session schedule that best fits your professional goals, and hear from industry leaders and pioneers.

The many new additions this year will elevate your experience and expand your personal and professional networks. You can take advantage of both planned and informal networking as you enjoy being back in person for this always-enlightening conference.

The launch party on Tuesday evening and the formal networking reception on Wednesday will offer a chance to meet new friends and reconnect with ‘old’ ones in a celebratory atmosphere. The ADRP Connections Lounge in the foyer will be the perfect place for informal networking and an ideal meeting location throughout the conference. Conversation starter questions in various conference locations will provide a great icebreaker to get the ball rolling. There will also be lots of time for impromptu networking. 

The conference mobile app will provide additional networking and communication functions to optimize the conference sessions, help you learn more about your fellow attendees, and allow you to reach out to them to continue the dialogue. You will be able to post comments, answer questions, and join discussions with other attendees in the conference discussion board.

This year, ADRP is presenting an exciting new initiative, the 2022 ADRP International Conference Cohorts Program Pilot. The program will be focused on meaningful and purposeful facilitated networking between conference attendees, allowing participants to connect on a meaningful level before, during, and after the conference. Cohorts will be created with random assignments to allow people from different types of organizations, different experience levels, and different locations to come together and exchange ideas and questions. If you would like to participate in the cohorts program, please fill out this form by August 26.

This year’s service project will help support women in the Albuquerque community. We’re partnering with the local chapter of Dress for Success, which provides professional clothing and accessories to women who have scheduled a job interview or are entering the workforce. They also offer workshops and participate in local career fairs. Look for the Dress for Success table to pick up a blank notecard and write a note of encouragement. You can also make a monetary gift on their website.

We are thrilled to also offer dine-arounds to our attendees to enhance your conference experience. Savor an extra networking opportunity so you can get to know one another outside of a conference setting while you enjoy delicious food. Dine-arounds will be available on Wednesday, September 21, and Thursday, September 22. Visit our website for more information, and view an interactive map of the area.
Whatever your interest and bandwidth for professional development and connections are, you will find it at the ADRP Conference. Please register if you haven’t yet. Registration closes on September 7 at 7 a.m. PT. For more conference information, our conference website

We look forward to seeing you in New Mexico!

LinkedIn Live with ADRP

LinkedIn Live with our Keynote and Conference Chairs

Join We Are For Good for a LinkedIn Live with Ryan Steele, ADRP Conference Chair, and Margaret Coad, ADRP Conference Chair-Elect. The conversation will explore donor relations 2.0, evolved tools and strategies, myths we need to release, and the upcoming ADRP conference where We Are For Good will feature as one of our keynote presenters. Come prepared with your questions for the group!

Wednesday, August 24
12 p.m. CST

Nine Networking Tips

Nine Networking Tips

Rachel Humphrey
Director - Fund Stewardship
UC Berkeley
Stand out at the conference and make connections using a few of the strategies below…
  1. Wear something worth commenting on. This is an easy-in for someone to start a conversation with you. Time to get out that cupcake print scarf or those dangly neon earrings. I have a porcupine necklace that is a great conversation starter. Also, if you are admiring someone else’s garb, say it out loud!
  2. Set your sights. Look at the conference roster. Decide who you want to meet. Join their table if you see them at breakfast or lunch. Ask which sessions they’re attending, or already attended. Make a connection!
  3. Prepare questions. What’s keeping you busy these days? What do you like to do for fun? At my team meetings we often ask “What are you procrastinating on right now?” as a warm-up. We love it. It feels so human.
  4. Pretend to be someone else. But not exactly. You should be you, and wear your own name tag, but if you are on the shy side, imagine you are someone else, like your super confident friend, or a famous person of your choice. Channel confidence.
  5. Get someone to introduce you. If you see someone you know talking to someone you don’t know whom you would like to know, ask them to introduce you. This is easy and another great strategy for shy folks. If this just isn’t happening for you, find me. I will introduce you to anyone whether I know them or not.
  6. Say their name. When you’re introduced to someone new, be sure to repeat their name back to them and use it as much as possible during your conversation. It demonstrates that you’re paying attention and it makes the conversation feel more personal. Plus, it might help you remember it next time you see them. 
  7. Shut up. Let the other person talk. Ask them questions. Take it all in. “When you talk, you are only repeating what you know. When you listen, you may learn something new.” — The Dalai Lama
  8. Treat yourself. Making new friends is great, but can zap your energy. Go have some dessert in your hotel room, alone. In Miami, one of my colleagues “made it rain” business cards because he had collected over 50. Celebrate!
  9. Volunteer with ADRP! Honestly, the best way to make connections. Sign up now!

Member Spotlight: Antonio Chavez-Askew

Member Spotlight: Antonio Chavez-Askew

Name: Antonio Chavez-Askew
Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Position: Stewardship Communications Coordinator
New ADRP Member!
Can you tell us about your educational and career trajectory? What led you to take a position in donor relations?
As a recent graduate, I purposefully applied to my current position as a Stewardship Communications Coordinator because I had an interest in public service and promoting inclusivity at my alma mater and now employer, UC Berkeley. My role in donor relations has been very rewarding, and I plan to stay in the field for the foreseeable future. Once I am more comfortable in my position, I hope to pursue a graduate degree: a master's in public administration or possibly a Ph.D. (primarily due to my undergraduate experience focused on qualitative research and my passion for international politics). 

This is your first ADRP conference! Are there any sessions you’re particularly looking forward to?

I signed up for an abundance of sessions for this year’s ADRP conference. I am thrilled to be attending my first conference, and I’m looking forward to two sessions in particular. As someone who will be managing a small team of student assistants as part of my new role, I’m excited  for Taking the Lead: A Skills, Strategies, and Best Practices Workshop for Team Leaders. In this new remote/hybrid work model, I am dedicated to creating an environment for my team that is simultaneously productive and positive – for both the assistants as well as the Fund Stewardship & Compliance team. Additionally, I hope to gain more knowledge on handling team conflict, especially given the barriers present in an online setting and the lack of face-to-face interaction. I also look forward to attending Stewardship Writing – The Five W's and an H. As someone relatively new to the stewardship field, I seek to improve my writing skills in a way that truly resonates with donors and learn how I can gain inspiration from the subject matter. 

What are you hoping to gain from attending the conference this year?

I hope to use this conference as a way to gain knowledge from others. I hope to meet a diverse cohort of ADRP members who can tell me more about how they landed in their current roles, and hear what advice they have for people just starting out in the field. I’m also looking forward to meeting others in similar roles to mine, and gaining insight on how to thrive in my current role, develop my skills, and grow my career.

Defining Nostalgia: Disease or Emotion?

Defining Nostalgia: Disease or Emotion?

The following is an excerpt from a blog post by the CEO of our conference platinum sponsor, Mythos.
John Budington
CEO, Mythos
On August 25, 1768, a ship named Endeavour carrying 94 Royal Navy sailors left Plymouth, England with 18 months of provisions. Unbeknownst to the crew, the captain possessed a secret set of orders that would take his ship on a journey that would last over a thousand days and not only add new territories to the English Empire—but also add the word nostalgia to the popular lexicon. But the origin of the word nostalgia lies in a much earlier voyage and was a medical diagnosis. Most of us today don’t think of nostalgia as a disease. So how did the definition evolve from a medical diagnosis to an emotional state? Why the transformation from a condition caused by a distant place to a longing for a past period of time? To answer that question, we must recognize the changes that occurred during the period of the Endeavour expedition.